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240 Pearl street, cor. Burling-slip. 









This History was prepared as a part of a course of 
Lectures by the " Flatbush Literary Association," 
during the winter of 1841-2. In yielding to the request 
which has been made to him from several sources to have 
it published, the author would remark, that he has made 
some additions and corrections in it since it was delivered. 
His object has been to make it as copious and authentic as 
practicable. He has aimed more at fulness and accuracy 
of detail than at ornament or display of composition. The 
great difficulty in accomplishing a work of this nature, 
arises from the fact, that the early history of the town is 
wrapped up in manuscripts written in the Dutch language, 
and many of them too in a very small and cramped char- 
acter. These but few can decipher and translate. The 
author has happily been favored with the assistance of 
two gentlemen of Flatbush, who have aided him very 
materially in this particular. Several papers of impor- 
tance relating to the civil and ecclesiastical history of 
the Town, have been translated by them for the purpose 
of furthering this work. To these gentlemen, John C. 
Vanderveer and Jeremiah Lott, Esq^s., the author would 

return his grateful acknowledgments. The latter gentle- 
man, in addition to several translations and other docu- 
ments, has also kindly furnished the draft of the map which 
accompanies the volume. Assistance has also been derived 
from " Smith's History of New- York," " Thompson's 
History of Long-Island," and " Furman's Notes, &c., of 
the Town of Brooklyn." Besides these sources of informa- 
tion. General Jeremiah Johnson, of Brooklyn, and several 
elderly persons living in the village of Flatbush, have 
been consulted. From these individuals important facts 
relative to the scenes which took place during the 
revolutionary war and the times immediately preceding 
and following that great event, have been obtained. The 
plan of the work now presented to the public, embraces 
five divisions : The Civil — the Ecclesiastical — the Literary 
History of the Town — the incidents which transpired 
therein during the war, which resulted in our American 
Independence, and a description of some of the changes 
or improvements which have been introduced in more 
modem times. The author is conscious that in regard to 
the earlier history of Flatbush, there is much that is de- 
fective — arising from the want of sufficient sources of in- 
formation. These will not probably be fully supplied 
until the return and publication of the report of Romeyn 
Brodhead, Esq., who is now in Holland as a Commission- 
er from the State of New- York, to collect information 
relative to the settlement and early History of this 
State. He has already obtained possession of a great 

amount of valuable facts, which will throw much light 
upon both the early civil and ecclesiastical affairs, not 
only of the Dynasty of New-Netherlands generally — but 
particularly of the west end of Long-Island. When this 
work shall appear, it will supply all that is defective in 
the present volume, as far as relates to the early history 
of the town. In the mean time, trusting to the candor and 
generosity of the public to receive with favor, an attempt 
to regain and preserve the facts connected with the 
history of one of the oldest towns in the state, consent has 
been given to the publication of this work. 

Flatbush, L. L, April 4, 1842. 



©a. IK. 

■■ East end 



/ \. 

Corntr^latbushfence : \. 

iV^^-^r UTRECHT / \ 



Long-Island was discovered in the year 1609, by 
Henry Hudson. He was an Englishman by birth, but 
was engaged by the East India Company of Holland to 
discover a passage to the East Indies in a westerly direc- 
tion from Europe. He had been employed in the same 
service by the English, and had failed in his enterprise, 
and been dismissed from their employ. Upon which he was 
engaged by the Dutch, and fitted out with a vessel called 
the Half Moon. After coasting in his third voyage as far 
south as Virginia, he turned to the north again and saw 
for the first time the highlands of Neversink. On the 3d 
of September 1609, he entered the great bay between 
Sandy Hook, Staten-Island and Amboy. He observed 
among other things, that the waters swarmed with fish 
and some of very large size. On the 4th, he sent his 
men on shore, and relates that he found the soil of white 
sand and a vast number of plum trees loaded with fruit, 
and many of them covered with grape vines of different 
kinds. The natives are represented in general as mani- 
festing all friendship, when Hudson first landed among 
them. But on one occasion shortly after his arrival, their 
bad feelings were from some cause not stated, excited. 
Hudson sent out a boat under command of one Colman 
to catch fish, and the Indians attacked the men. One of 
the arrows which they discharged, headed with a sharp 

flint stone, struck Colman in the throat and mortally 
wounded him. The sailors not being able to defend 
themselves, hastened back to the ship, carrying poor 
Colman dying with them. His body was taken on 
shore after his death and buried on the island which 
is now called Coney Island — a corruption of the origi- 
nal name Colman, which was given it by Hudson and 
his company, in commemoration of him who was buried 
there, and who was the commander of the boat which 
bore the first Europeans through the passage so famil- 
iarly known to us all as the Narrows. De Laet, a Dutch 
historian, says, that at this time the natives were clothed 
in the skins of elks, foxes and other animals. Their 
canoes were made of the bodies of trees; their arms, 
bows and arrows with sharp points of stone fixed to 
them. They had no houses, he says, but slept under 
the blue heavens: some on mats made of brush or bul- 
rushes, and some upon leaves of trees. Hudson passed up 
the river which still bears his name, and left it to others 
to discover that the land on which he had touched, was 
an island. This was done by Adrian Block, in 1614. He 
sailed from New- Amsterdam, now New- York, through the 
sound to Cape Cod, and visited the intermediate coasts 
and islands. He appears to have been the first who ascer- 
tained that Long-Island was separate from the main land. 
Long-Island at this time, bore the name of Matiouwakey 
or Meitowah and Sewanhachey — the last of which, means 
the isle or land of shells, and was no doubt given to it 
in consequence of large quantities of seewant or shell 
money, being manufactured here. 

The objects of the Dutch being at first chiefly of a 
mercantile character, but few settlements were made in 
the country by them. The first was established on an 


island near the present site of Albany, in the year 1614, 
where they built a fort, which in honor of their sovereign, 
they called Fort Orange. It was not however, till the 
year 1624, that any settlement was made on Manhattan 
Island. In that year Fort Amsterdam was built and the 
foundation laid for the city of New- Amsterdam, now New- 
York. The resources of the country and the prospect of 
a very lucrative trade with the natives in fur being made 
known in Holland, soon induced many to emigrate to this 
new country. The object of the first settlers evidently 
was trade. But as it soon became known that lands equal 
in fertility to those of Holland were to be found here, and 
advantages of no ordinary character were offered to the 
agriculturist, many families were induced to leave their 
father land and settle in this <;ountry. The first settle- 
ment on the west end of Long-Island, appears to have 
been made as early as 1625, in which year, according to 
a family record in the hands of General Johnson of Brook- 
lyn, the first child of George Jansen De Rapalje, was 
born at the Wallaboght — and it is the tradition among the 
Dutch, that this was the first white child that was born on 
the island. It is however not probable, that many emi- 
grants had yet arrived from Holland with the object of 
cultivating the soil, as the earliest deed for land in the 
town of Brooklyn, is a grant to Abraham Rycken, in 1638, 
and the earliest deed on record, is a grant to Thomas 
Besker, in the year 1639 ; and the earliest grant for lands 
in Kings County that has been discovered, was in 1636. 
The first purchase from the Indians on Long-Island that 
has been discovered, was in the year 1635; and the earli- 
est deed for land to individuals, was from these Indians 
to Jacobus Van Corlear, for the tract subsequently called 
Corlear^s Flats. The description of this tract in the deed. 


is as follows: — "The middlemost of the three flats to 
them belonging, called Castoleeuw, on the island by them 
called Sewanhackey, between the bay of the North-river 
and East-river of the New-Netherlands, extending in 
length from a certain kill coming up from the sea, mostly 
northerly till into the woods, and a breadth of a certain 
valeye eastward also to the woods." About the same 
time, a deed was given by the same Indians, to Andries 
Hedden and Wolphert Garritsen, for what is called the 
Little Flats; and another to Wouter Van Twiller the 
Director, for what has since been denominated Twil- 
ler's Flats. The deed is dated June 6th, 1636. These 
three latter tracts lie partly in Flatbush and partly in 
Flatlands. It is not improbable, however, that consid- 
erable settlements were made before any formal grants 
or Patents of lands were obtained. It was soon ascer- 
tained that the lands in and about Flatlands, were level 
and free from woods. This was a strong inducement 
to settlers who came from the level country of Holland, 
and who had no domestic animals for the plough, to oc- 
cupy this part of the island. It is believed that as early 
as the year 1630, a settlement was effected in that town, 
which was then called New-Amersfort, after Amersfort, a 
town in the province of Utrecht, in Holland, from which 
probably some, if not most of the earlier settlers came. 
It also received the name oi De Baije, or the Bay. In 
1634, this town appears to have contained quite a num- 
ber of inhabitants. 

But about this time, the Dutchmen found that the 
plain clear land was not so strong and productive as that 
which bore heavy timber; this induced many of them to 
seek a settlement somewhat farther to the north — and 
from the best account it would appear that about the year 


1634, the settlement of Flatbush commenced. It then 
comprised a tract of woodland bounded on the north by 
the Hills, on the south by Flatlands, and extending east 
and west in one continual forest. This tract was evident- 
ly purchased by the governor of the colony, or by the first 
settlers, from the native Indian proprietors, but the 
amount of consideration paid cannot now be ascertained. 
At the time of the purchase, it was heavily covered with 
timber, (consisting principally of hickory and white and 
black oak,) with the exception of two small parcels which 
were clear and destitute of trees, lying to the east of the 
town, then called by the names of Corlaer's and Twiller's 
Flats, and another on the south of the town adjoining 
Flatlands, called the Little Flats. The land thus described, 
from its being principally covered with timber, and from 
its peculiar location, having the hills on the north and 
Flatlands on the south, was appropriately called by the 
first settlers, by the name of Midwout, or Middlewoods. 

The first settlements in the town were made along an 
Indian path leading from the Hills to New-Amersfort, 
which is now the present highway or street through the 
village of Flatbush. All subsequent settlements were 
principally confined to the same path, and will readily 
account for the crooked direction of the present road. 
The first settlers were intent upon making agriculture 
their principal means of subsistence. In order therefore 
to concentrate their dwellings as much as possible, so as 
to protect their families from Indian intrusions or other 
depredations, and to form a village of farmers, they de- 
termined to lay out their farms in narrow oblongs front- 
ing on both sides of the path above mentioned. The 
farms were accordingly laid out into forty-eight lots or 
tracts of land, extending six hundred Dutch rods on each 


side of the Indian path, and having severally an average 
width of about twenty-seven rods. The lots or farms on 
the east side of the path, were all laid out in a direction 
running east and west : while those on the west side there- 
of, had a south-westerly inclination so as to correspond 
with the direction of the Hills adjoining the north-west- 
erly side of the town. An allotment was then made be- 
tween the several proprietors of mostly two lots or more 
a piece, and for the support of the gospel among them 
according to their own religious faith, the most central 
and eligible lots were reserved and set apart for their 
church. The distribution among the proprietors, was 
probably made by lot, which appears to have been the 
almost invariable practice of the Dutch in dividing the 
lands which they patented. A considerable portion of 
wood-lands lying on the west, north and east sides of the 
towns, together with Corker's and Twiller^s Flats, were 
left in common and remained for years undivided. 

There can be no doubt that the existing governor in 
order to secure the inhabitants of Midwout in the quiet 
possession of their purchase from the native Indian pro- 
prietors, confirmed the same to them by his Ground Brief 
or Letters Patent. But when this was granted cannot 
now be ascertained with entire certainty. In the year 
1684, twenty years after the surrender of the Colony 
to the English, an order was issued by the Governor 
and Council, commanding all the inhabitants of the 
Dutch towns in the provinces of New- York and New- 
Jersey to bring their Dutch Patents and Indian Deeds 
into the Secretary's Office in New- York. This order 
was no doubt complied with by this as well as the other 
Dutch towns on Long-Island, and thus the original 
patent with those of the other towns, except Gravesend, 


(which being settled chiefly by English emigrants, was 
favored by the Governor,) was destroyed or sent to Eng- 
land. The object of this arrangement was to cause the 
towns to take out new Patents, and thus not only ac- 
knowledge the English government, but increase the reve- 
nue of the English Governor. It is probable however, 
that the first patent obtained from the Dutch Governor 
was only for that part of Flatbush which goes imder 
the name of the old town, which was granted about the 
year 1651 or 1652. The original proprietors according 
to H. C. Murphy, Esq., of Brooklyn, were Jan Snedecor 
Arent Van Hatten, one of the Burgomasters of New- 
Amsterdam, Johannes Megapolensis, one of the ministers 
of the same city, and others. On the 20th day of June, 
in the year 1656, a Ground Brief or Patent was granted 
by Governor Stuyvesant to the " indwellers and inhab- 
itants of Midwout," for the Canarsee Meadows, which 
are therein described as " a parcel of meadow ground, or 
valley, lying on the east north-east of the Canarsee Indian 
planting lands." This is the only original Dutch Patent 
of any part of the town which has been discovered. 

These meadow lands lying at Canarsee, appear to have 
been divided and an allotment made of them among the 
proprietors about the time of obtaining this Patent, or 
very shortly after, as in some of the Ground Briefs to 
individuals mention is made of certain portions of these 
meadow lands as appertaining to the farm, and they are 
designated by particular numbers. 

Subsequently to the allotments made by, and between 
the inhabitants of Midwout, of the several parcels of land 
to them respectively allotted, many were desirous to have 
written titles to their lands ; and for this purpose applied 
to, and obtained from Governor Stuyvesant, Letters Pa- 


tent to secure them in their possession. These Patents to 
individuals bear different dates, and some as late as within 
a year or two previous to the surrender of the country to 
the English. Some of them were recorded in the town 
books, even several years after the surrender. 

Flatbush appears to have increased in the number of 
its inhabitants very rapidly after its first settlement ; for 
as early as the year 1658, it was the seat of Justice for 
the County, and a market town. At that time the public 
officers of the county, the Minister, Sheriff, Secretary or 
Clerk, as well as a public School-Master resided in it. 
The courts were held here, and the general business of 
this section of Long Island was transacted here. Four 
years previous to this, viz : in the year 1654, the order of 
the Governor was issued for building the first church. 
But this we shall more particularly allude to when we 
come to speak of the ecclesiastical history of the town. 

Governor Stuyvesant the last of the Dutch Governors, 
was unquestionably a brave and an honest man. But va- 
rious causes of discontent arose previous to, and during 
his administration, which called for the remonstrance of 
the people. The laws were imperfect, and many of them 
not at all adapted to the times. The voice of the people 
was not had in the choice of magistrates, nor in the enact- 
ment of the statutes, by which they were to be governed. 
Causes of Justice were too frequently decided from mere 
wantonness and caprice, and the Governor and Council 
appeared indisposed to remedy many existing evils in the 
administration of civil and criminal jurisprudence. The 
sense of public insecurity in time, produced a spirit of 
general discontent, and the people with great unanimity 
resolved to state their grievances to the Governor, and 
respectfully demand redress. Accordingly the Burgo- 


masters of New Amsterdam, called upon the several 
Dutch Towns to send delegates to a convention to be held 
in that city on the 26th. of November, 1653. At this 
convention delegates appeared from Flatbush as well as 
from the other towns. The convention adjourned to the 
11th. of December following, when after mutual consulta- 
tion, and discussion of various matters, they adopted a 
remonstrance, which in an able but respectful manner 
set forth their grievances. This ancient document is in- 
teresting as showing that at that early day the people 
had intelligence enough to understand their rights and 
know the legitimate objects of civil government. The 
remonstrance was signed by all the members of the con- 
vention. The delegates from Flatbush whose names are 
attached to it were " Elbert Elbertson, and Thomas 
Spicer." The Governor and Council gave no formal an- 
swer to the remonstrance of the deputies, but entered one 
on their minutes, in which they denied the right of Flat- 
bush and of BrookljTQ and Flatlands to send delegates, 
and protested against the meeting, although it had been 
called at the request of the Governor himself. Entertain- 
ing a just sense of the responsibility attached to them, the 
deputies made another but ineffectual attempt to obtain 
a recognition of their rights. On the 13th of December 
1653, they presented another remonstrance, in which they 
declared, that if they could not obtain a redress of their 
grievances from the Governor and Council, they would be 
under the necessity of appealing to their superiors, the 
States General. This so irritated Governor Stuyvesant 
that he ordered them "to disperse, and not to assemble 
again upon such a business." 

In 1654, it appears that the country was much infested 
with robbers. The inhabitants of this and the neighbor- 


ing towns were much annoyed by their depredations. To 
guard themselves against these, the magistrates of Mid- 
wout united with those of Brooklyn and Amersfort in 
forming a military volunteer company against " robbers 
and pirates," as they expressed themselves. This com- 
pany was formed on the 7th, of April, 1654, and deter- 
mined that there should be a military officer in each 
town, called a Sergeant, as well as a public patrole in each 
village. On the day following the organization of the 
company, the Governor issued his proclamation against 
certain robbers, whom he states " had been banished from 
New-England, and were wandering about on Long- 

In 1655, a large body of Northern Indians, made a de- 
scent on Staten Island, and massacreed sixty-seven per- 
sons; after which, they crossed to Long-Island and in- 
vested Gravesend, which was relieved by a party of sol- 
diers from New-Amsterdam. To guard against similar 
attacks, as well as to defend themselves from the en- 
croachments of their neighboring Indians, the inhabitants 
of Flatbush were ordered by Governor Stuyvesant in 
1656, to enclose their village with palisadoes. These forti- 
fications were required to be kept up under the English 
government, as will appear by the following record of the 
court of Sessions for the West Riding of Yorkshire, upon 
Long Island, December 15th, 1675. " The Town of Flat- 
bush having neglected the making of ffortifications, the 
court take notis of it, and reffer the censure to ye Gover- 
nor." It is further ascertained from traditionary infor- 
mation, that the first church was fenced in with strong 
pallisadoes, and that the early settlers went out in the day 
time to cultivate their farms, and returned in the evening 
and lodged within the enclosure during the night time 


for their safety and mutual protection; and that this 
practice continued until there was a sufficient number 
of substantial dwellings erected, so as to render the pre- 
caution unnecessary. 

In the original Dutch Patent of the town, there was 
some reserve of quit rent to be paid to the Governor. But 
as the Patent cannot be found, the amount, or the kind of 
this quit rent cannot be ascertained. But on the 6th of 
June, 1656, Governor Stuyvesant issued a peremptory 
order, prohibiting the inhabitants of Flatbush, as well as 
those of Brooklyn and Flatlands, from removing their 
crops of grain from the fields until the tythes reserved by 
their Patents had either been taken or commuted for. 

It is not distinctly known to what branches of agricul- 
ture our early Dutch ancestors devoted themselves. But 
as for a considerable time they had to cultivate the 
ground without the aid of animals, and chiefly by the hoe 
and spade, it is probable that they turned their attention 
to that which would yield the most profit from the small- 
est piece of ground. There is reason to believe that in 
common with some other places, on the west end of Long- 
Island, tobacco was raised in considerable quantities in 
this town during its early settlement. For in addition to 
that consumed in the Colony, shipments of this article 
were made from New- Amsterdam to Holland. As early 
as 1643, a grant for a tobacco plantation at the Walla- 
bought was made. Tobacco became too, at an early day 
a standard of value for lands and other property: And 
in 1638, an Act was passed, commonly called the Tobacco 
Statute, in which, mention is made of the high estima- 
tion in which the tobacco shipped from New-Netherlands 
was held in the European market, and various regula- 
tions are prescribed relative to the manner in which it 


shall be cultivated, inspected, and sold. We have no 
doubt that the inhabitants of Midwout early engaged 
in the production of this article. (See Thompson's His- 
tory of Long-Island for the Tobacco Statute, page 177.) 
Great attention too was paid to the raising of Barley. 
Vast quantities of malt liquors were made in ]N'ew- 
Amsterdam, and of consequence, a ready market was 
there found for this article. It became in some subse- 
quent years almost the staple of this part of Long- 
Island; so much so, that 20,000 bushels of Barley were 
annually sold from Flatbush alone. 

Van der Donk, in his History of New-Netherlands, 
which was published in 1655, also states that much atten- 
tion was paid by the Dutch agriculturalists to the culti- 
vation of the best vegetables and fruits of various kinds ; 
and a great variety of beautiful flowers. 

Nothing of very special interest occurred in Flatbush, 
from the date which we have last mentioned, until the 
period of the surrender of the country to the English, 
which took place in the year 1664. The number of the 
inhabitants in the town, appears to have increased quite 
rapidly up to this time, when it is supposed it contained 
a larger population than at the conclusion of the revolu- 
tionary war, in 1783. 

We will be pardoned for digressing here for a few mo- 
ments, for the purpose of narrating the manner, and some 
of the terms and conditions, on which the surrender of the 
country was made to the English authorities. King 
Charles, by Letters Patent, granted to his brother, James, 
the Duke of York, his heirs and assigns, Long-Island, all 
Hudsons' River, and all lands from the west side of Con- 
necticut River to the east side of Delaware Bay, together 
with all royalties and right of government. This em- 


braced all the countries then governed by the Dutch. 
Soon after the grant of this Patent, King Charles de- 
spatched a small force, for the purpose of subduing the 
country. The Dutch inhabitants were apprized of the 
designs of the English, by the vigilance of Governor 
Stuyvesant, who had received information, that an expe- 
dition was preparing against them, consisting of three 
vessels, of forty or fifty guns each, having on board about 
three hundred soldiers, and laying at Plymouth in Eng- 
land, waiting for a fair wind. The Dutch authorities 
were called together, by their Governor, and they ordered 
the fort to be put in the best state of defence. As soon as 
the vessels arrived in the outer harbor of New- York, which 
was in August, 1664, Governor Stuyvesant sent a polite 
note to the English commander, dated, August 19th, 1664, 
desiring the reason of their approach and continuance in 
the harbor without giving the Dutch notice. This letter 
was sent by John Declyer, one of the chief council, the 
Eev. John Megapolensis, minister, Paul Lunden Vander 
Grilft and Mr. Samuel Megapolensis, doctor of physic. 
On the next day. Col. Eichard Nicolls, who was the 
commander of the expedition, and was clothed with the 
powers of Governor, sent an answer, and demanded a sur- 
render of the country. In this document he informed 
Governor Stuyvesant, that he had been sent out by the 
King of England, for the maintainance of his unquestion- 
able rights, and that he had been commanded to demand 
the surrender of the country, and in his name he now re- 
quired such surrender. He however assured him, that 
every Dutch inhabitant who should readily submit to the 
King of England, should be secured in his estate, life and 
liberty. He despatched the summons by four persons, 
through whom he expected to receive an answer. These 


persons were George Cartwright, one of his Majesty's 
commissioners in America, Captain Robert Needham, 
Captain Edward Groves and Mr. Thomas Delavall. 

Governor Stuyvesant promised an answer the next 
morning, and in the mean time convened the council and 
Burgomasters. He was, unquestionably a brave soldier, 
and had lost a leg in the service of his country, and was 
desirous to defend the place by all the means in his 
power. He therefore refused both to the inhabitants and 
the Burgomasters a sight of the summons, lest the easy 
terms proposed might induce them to capitulate. The 
inhabitants were called together at the Staatds House, 
and informed of the Governor's refusal. On the 2d day 
of September, 1664, the Burgomasters came in coun- 
cil, and demanded to see the summons, which the Gov- 
ernor then in a fit of anger tore to pieces. But not- 
withstanding the yielding disposition of the inhabitants 
to the British commissioners, which arose, no doubt, from 
a growing discontent with the Dutch government, which 
had existed for several years in the country, Governor 
Stuyvesant resolved upon a vigorous resistance, and sent 
to the English commander a long letter, vindicating the 
justice of the Dutch claims to the territory which they 

While the Governor and council were contending with 
the Burgomasters and people, in the city of New-Amster- 
dam, the English commissioners published a proclama- 
tion in the country, encouraging the inhabitants to sub- 
mit, and promising them all the privileges of British sub- 
jects. Many, on discovering from Governor Stuyvesant's 
letter, which was then likewise published, that he was 
averse to the surrender, being fearful of the impending 
storm, resolved to join the strongest party, and began to 


beat up for volunteers, particularly on Long-Island. 
The Governor being thus invaded by a foreign foe, 
and threatened to be deserted by those on whose friend- 
ship he had depended, perceiving that resistance would 
only occasion a wanton effusion of blood, agreed to 
appoint six distinguished citizens on his part, who, in 
conjunction with an equal number of British commis- 
sioners should conclude a treaty for the surrender of 
the country. 

The commissioners on the part of the Dutch were 

John D. Deckar, 

Nicholas Verleet, 

Samuel Megapolensis, 

Oleffe Stevens Van Kortlandt, 

James Cousseau, 

Cornelius Steenwick, 
On the part of the English, they were 

Robert Carr, 

George Carteret, 

John Winthrop, 

Samuel Willys, 

Thomas Clarke, 

John Pinchen. 
This treaty was agreed upon. It consisted of twenty- 
three articles, of which it is sufficient to give the outlines 
of some of the most prominent. The Staats General, or 
the Dutch West India Company were to enjoy all farms 
and houses except those in the forts, and had liberty 
within six months to transport all arms and ammunition 
which belonged to them. The people might remain free 
denizens, and occupy or dispose of their lands, houses and 
goods, as they pleased. They were to enjoy free liberty 
of conscience, and retain their own customs respecting 


their inheritances. No judgment which had passed any 
of the courts of judicature could be called in question, 
and all previous differences respecting contracts, were to 
be determined according to the manner of the Dutch. No 
Dutchman nor Dutch ships could be pressed to serve in 
war against any nation whatever, and no soldiers quar- 
tered on the inhabitants. Inferior civil officers might 
continue to fill their stations till the customary time of a 
new election, and the inhabitants were entitled to choose 
deputies, who should have free voices in all public affairs. 
The soldiers were to march out with the honors of war, 
and each of them who chose to remain in the country was 
entitled to fifty acres of land. The Articles were ap- 
proved by Colonel Richard NicoUs, on the 7th, of Sep- 
tember, and on the 9th, of September, 1664, by Governor 

About the time of the surrender of the country to the 
Duke of York, there appears to have been a considerable 
contest as to the boundary line between the towns of Mid- 
wout and New-Amersfort, which was attended with fre- 
quent collisions, and particularly so, in the mowing and 
ingathering of hay on the Canarsee meadows. This even- 
tually led to an application to Governor Richard Nicolls 
for the settlement of the subject in controversy, between 
the contending parties. Governor Nicolls in the year 
1666 appointed arbitrators to view and settle the matters 
in difference between them. The arbitrators thus ap- 
pointed, accordingly met, for the purpose of viewing the 
premises and issuing the differences between these towns 
on the 17th, of October, 1666. They were accompanied 
by many of the inhabitants, and after a careful survey, 
a designated line was agreed upon. The line thus con- 
sented to was designated by marked trees, wherever prac- 


tic able, and in other instances, by prominent stakes, or a 
fence set np between the two towns. In the Canarsee 
meadows, which were esteemed valuable at that time, it 
was described with greater precision, and was designated 
by an instrument similar to the mariners compass, and 
was to run according to the terms of Governor Stuyve- 
sant's Patent, granted to Midwout, in 1656, from the 
woodland to the mouth of the kill or creek, (now called 
the first creek, or Vanderveer's mill creek,) with an East 
line half a point northerly, without variation of compass. 
The award and determination of the arbitrators was 
made to Governor Nicolls, in accordance to the above 
arrangement, and the line being marked, and staked out, 
in conformity thereto, the award received his approbation 
and sanction, on the 20th, day of April, 1667. 

This controversy being thus happily terminated, and 
the southern boundary of the town permanently fixed, 
the inhabitants of Flatbush, in the year 1667, applied to 
Governor Nicolls for a confirmatory grant, to secure them 
in their possessions, as he was required to do, by virtue, 
and in pursuance of the Articles of capitulation. On the 
11th, of October, in the year 1667, the Governor granted 
letters patent, to the freeholders and inhabitants of Mid- 
wout, alias Flatbush, of which, the following is a con- 
densed abstract: 

"Eichard Nicolls, Esq. &c. Whereas there is a cer- 
tain town within this government, known by the name of 
Midwout, alias Flatbush, &c. now for a confirmation, &c. 
Know ye that I have given, ratified, confirmed and grant- 
ed unto Mr. Johannes Megapolensis, one of the ministers 
of this city, Mr. Cornelius Van Ruyven, one of the jus- 
tices of the peace, Adrian Hegeman, Jan Snediger, Jan 
Stryker, Frans Barents Pastor, Jacob Stryker, and Cor- 


nelius Janse Bougaert, at Patentees, for, and on behalf, 
of themselves and associates, freeholders and inhabitants 
of the said town, their heirs, successors and assigns ; All 
that tract, together with the several parcels of land, which 
already have, or hereafter shall be purchased or procured 
for, and on behalf of the said town ; whether from the na- 
tive Indian proprietors or others, within the bounds and 
limits hereafter set forth and expressed, viz: That is to 
say: The said town is bounded to the south by the Hills, 
to the north by the fence lately sett between them and 
the town of Amersfort, alias Flatlands: Beginning at a 
certain tree, standing upon the Little Flats, marked by 
order and determination of several arbitrators, appointed 
by me, to view and issue the differences between the two 
towns, concerning the same, which accordingly they did, 
upon the 17th, day of October, 1666, and to the east and 
west by the common woodlands, including two Flats, 
heretofore called by the names of Corlers and Twillers 
Flats, which lye to the east of the town: As also a par- 
cel of meadow ground or valley on the east northeast 
side of the Canarsee planting land, and having to the 
south the meadow ground belonging to Amersfort, alias 
Flatlands, according to the division made by an east line 
running half a point northerly, between them, without 
variation of the compass, and so to go to the mouth of 
the Creek or Kill; which said meadows were upon the 
20th, of April last, by common consent staked out, and 
by my approbation allowed of: All which said tracts and 
parcels of land, meadow ground, &c. Dated, October, 
11th, 1667." 

The first settlers of Midwout, or Flatbush, were a hardy 
body of farmers, inured to labor, and acquainted more 
or less, with some mechanical trade. This was calculated 


to promote their domestic comfort, to render themselves 
useful to one another, and make them quite independent 
of extraneous aid. It is worthy of remark, that it was a 
general rule for every parent to cause his sons to be in- 
structed in some useful mechanical business, although in- 
tended for farmers, and that this practice was invariably 
continued until the commencement of the revolutionary 
war. In the original subdivision of the town amongst 
the different proprietors, it will be perceived, as above 
stated, that the allotments of land were made only for 
those who intended to obtain the means of subsistence by 
the cultivation of the earth. There was therefore no pro- 
vision as yet made for mechanics, who might desire to 
make a permanent residence here. Upon the introduction 
of a few mechanics, it was perceived that from the ability 
and employments of the inhabitants generally, there was 
but little prospect of their being able to support them- 
selves, and their families in any comfortable way, without 
the cultivation of some land, at least for family subsist- 
ence. The attention of the inhabitants was directed to 
this subject, and the church lands were thereupon divided 
into suitable and convenient parcels, so as to accommo- 
date the mechanics, and let to them for low and reason- 
able rents. A tract of woodland was also purchased and 
patented, lying to the east of the town and north of what 
is called Flatlands Neck, expressly for the benefit of 
the mechanics, and appropriately called Keuters Hook, 
or Mechanics Hook. The inhabitants of the town were 
at, and about that time, divided into two classes, 
called Keuters or mechanics, and Boers, or Farmers; 
and this distinction was kept up for years afterwards. 
The date of the Patent of Keuters Hook cannot now 
be ascertained with precision, but was probably not 


very long after the surrender of the country to the 

About this time the court was removed from Flatbush 
to Gravesend. This was no doubt, in consequence of the 
latter town being chiefly settled by English emigrants, 
and the authorities were disposed from this circumstance 
to favor them. The first records of the court, now in the 
Clerk's office of the county, are dated at Gravesend, in 
the years 1668.— 69. 

Shortly after the surrender of the colony to the Eng- 
lish, the towns of Brooklyn, Bushwick, Midwout, or Flat- 
bush, Amersford, or Flatlands, and New-Utrecht, were 
formed into a separate district, for certain purposes, by 
the name of the " Five Dutch Towns." For these towns a 
Secretary or Clerk, was specially appointed, whose duties 
appear to have been confined to the taking acknowledg- 
ments of transports and marriage settlements, and proof 
of wills, &c. In 1674, this office was held by " Nicasius 
De Sille, in the absence of Sr. Ffrancis De Brugh." He 
was succeeded in the year 1675, by Machiel Hainelle, who 
had been schoolmaster in Flatbush during the previous 
year. In the acknowledgments which he took, he styles 
himself " Clerk." In the same year the court of Sessions 
for the West Riding of Yorkshire,* which then sat in 
Gravesend, after setting forth the appointment of Hainelle, 
and calling him " Secretary," declared, " It is the opinion 
of the court, that for what publique or private business 
he shall doe, he ought to have reasonable satisfacon." 

New Lots, which was originally called Ostwout, or 
East-Woods, on account of its lying east of Midwout or 

* The West Riding was composed of the towns of Brooklyn, Bush- 
wich, Flatbush, Flatlands, New-Utrecht and Gravesend, together with 
Staten Island and Newtown. 


the Old Town of Flatbush, was no doubt purchased and 
procured from the native Indian proprietors, by the in- 
habitants of Midwout. But at what particular time can- 
not be distinctly ascertained. It was probably not far 
from the period when the Patent of Governor Nicolls was 
granted, which was in 1667. It was a tract of woodland 
covered with the same description of timber as that of 
Midwout. Its situation was also somewhat similar, hav- 
ing the Hills on the north, the Bay, which was then called 
the Sea, on the south, and extending easterly to the 
bounds of Jamaica. An extensive tract of meadows was 
included in these limits, lying in front of the upland, and 
extending to the Bay. All this land appears to have been 
subdivided in the same manner, as Midwout, or the Old 
Town of Flatbush, and the church also received its share 
in such allotment, with the inhabitants of the town. The 
meadow was, without doubt, also subdivided about the 
same time, and similarly allotted, as the upland. This 
opinion appears to be confirmed by the fact, that the first 
conveyances of land recorded in the town records always 
include one or more parcels of meadow therewith. The 
meadows must also have been esteemed valuable, on ac- 
count of producing spontaneously an annual crop of hay, 
and that, without previous labor or tillage. This tract of 
country generally was called the New Lands, and princi- 
pally settled by the inhabitants of Midwout, or the Old 
Town, and afterwards assumed the name of the New- 
Lots. The Patent for this was obtained under the ad- 
ministration of Sir, Edmond Andros, the second English 
Governor, to which we shall advert presently. 

In the year 1665, a meeting of delegates from the sev- 
eral towns on Long-Island, was held at Hempstead, for 
the purpose of adjusting any conflicting claims to lands. 


and settling the boundaries of the several towns, and of 
receiving and acknowledging the code of laws, which had 
been prepared by the Duke of York, for the government 
of the Colony, commonly called the " Dukes Laws." At 
this meeting the Governor himself attended, and the dele- 
gates were so much gratified with his manners, and the 
liberal views which he professed on the occasion, that they 
drew up, and signed an address to His Royal Highness, 
the Duke of York, full of gTatitude and loyalty, but at 
which, as soon as their constituents found that they were 
to have no voice in the selection of magistrates, or a share 
in legislation, they manifested their disapprobation, and 
censured the deputies with so much severity, that the 
civil authorities thought it necessary to interfere. And 
accordingly, at a court of Assize, held in October, 1666, it 
was resolved that whoever thereafter should detract, or 
speak against any of the deputies, signing the address to 
His Royal Highness, at the general meeting at Hemp- 
stead, should be presented to the next court of Sessions: 
and if the justices should see cause, they should thence be 
bound over to the Assizes, there to answer for the slander 
by plaint or information. 

The delegates who attended this convention from Flat- 
bush, and signed the address, were John Stryker and 
Hendrick Gucksen. It is not necessary here to give any 
summary of the Dukes Laws, which were then promul- 
gated, and continued to be the law of the land until Octo- 
ber, 1683. There are in them many quite curious provi- 
sions. There was nothing in them peculiar to any town, 
except the fixing the mark by which horses were to be 
branded. Each town was required to have a marking or 
flesh brand for this purpose. The town mark for Flat- 
bush was the letter O. 

It is probable that at this assembly, which fixed the 
bounds of the several towns, the names of many of them 
were altered. The town of Rutsdorpe, was called Jamaica, 
Amersfort was chang-ed to Flatlands, Middleburgh to 
JSTewtown, and Midwout to Flatbush, or Flakkebos, that 
is, Flat Woods. This name was given to it from its being 
situated on an apparently level plain, and surrounded on 
almost every side by woods. But it is here proper to re- 
mark, that the ground in and about Flatbush, is far from 
being a deal level. It is an inclined plane gradually ex- 
tending and lessening in inclination to its southern boun- 
dary. Hence, here are no stagnant pools or marshes, but 
all surplus water from rains and storms, passes off grad- 
ually, but yet in a very short period to the ocean. This 
renders the situation of the town healthful, and hence it 
has seldom if ever, been visited with any prevailing epi- 

The tract of country now comprising the town of Flat- 
bush as we have stated, was originally obtained by pur- 
chase from the Canarsee Indians, who were the true and 
original owners. The first Dutch settlers of the town, in 
their various purchases of the Indian proprietors, dealt 
fairly and honorably with them. They did not drive them 
from their possessions by force, but gave what was then 
esteemed by themselves to be a valuable consideration, for 
their lands. This integrity and uprightness of conduct, 
secured a lasting friendship with the Canarsee Indians, 
which continued till the total extinction of that Tribe. 
These purchases were confirmed to the inhabitants of Flat- 
bush by sundry Patents, issued to them by the Dutch and 
English Governors. 

The inhabitants continued in the peaceable enjoyment 
of these premises thus obtained, without any claim, hin- 


drance or molestation, from any person or persons, until 
the year 1670, when Eskemoppas, Sachem of Rockaway, 
and his two brothers, laid claim to the same, as the true 
Indian owners and proprietors thereof. There can be no 
doubt, that this claim was ill founded, but the Dutch in- 
habitants of the town for the purpose of quieting the title 
to their possessions, consented to take a conveyance from 
him and his two brothers, for which they paid a valuable 
consideration, which is set forth in a schedule subjoined 
to their deed. It may be gratifying to some to know the 
terms of this purchase, and the contents of this ancient 
document. The Deed is as follows : — " To all christian 
people to whom this present writing shall come: Eske- 
moppas, Sachem of Rockaway, upon Long Island, Kinna- 
rimas and Ahawaham, his brothers, send greeting : Where- 
as they the said Sachem, Eskemoppas and his two broth- 
ers, aforementioned, do lay claim to the land now in the 
tenure and occupation of the inhabitants of Midwout, 
alias Elatbush, as well as to other lands thereto adjacent, 
as the right born Indian owners, and proprietors thereof: 
Know ye, that for, and in consideration of certain sums 
of seewant, a certain sum of Avampum and divers other 
goods (hereinafter specified,) unto the said Sachem, and 
his brothers, in hand paid, and received, from Adrian 
Hegeman, Jacob Str;^d\er, Hendrich Jorise and Jan Han- 
sen, for and on behalf of themselves and the rest of 
the inhabitants of Midwout, alias Elatbush, the receipt 
whereof they do hereby acknowledge, and themselves to be 
fully satisfied and paid : Have given, granted, contracted 
and sold, and by these presents, freely and absolutely do 
give, grant, bargain and sell, unto the said Adrian Hege- 
man, Jacob Stryker, Hendrick Jorise and Jan Hansen, 
for and in behalf of themselves and the inhabitants afore- 
said, their heirs aud successors: All that parcel and tract 


of land where the said town of Midwont stands, together 
with all the lands lying therein, stretching on the east side 
to the limits of Newtown and Jamaica, on the south side 
to the meadow ground and limits of Amersfort; on the 
west side to the bounds of Gravesend and New-Utrecht, 
and on the north side along the Hills; that is to say, all 
those lands within the limits aforementioned that have 
not been already purchased by any of the inhabitants of 
the town aforementioned, nor is granted to any in their 
respective Patents. And also excepting such meadow 
or valley in the possession of the said inhabitants and 
in their Patent particularly set forth. To have and to 
hold, all the said parcel and tract of land and premises 
together with all and singular, every thing thereunto be- 
longing, or in any wise appertaining, as before mentioned, 
together with the said valley or meadow ground, unto the 
said Adrian Hegeman, Jacob Stryker, Hendrick Jorise 
and Jan Hansen, for, and on behalf of the inhabitants 
aforesaid, their heirs and successors, to the proper use 
and behalf of the said inhabitants, their heirs and suc- 
cessors forever. In witness whereof, the parties to these 
presents have hereunto set their hands and seals, this 
20th, day of April, in the 22d, year of his Majesty's 
Reign, in the year of our Lord, 1670. 

ESKEMOPPAS, ^ mark, (seal.) 
KINNARIMAS, ^ mark, (seal.) 
AHAWAHAM, -f mark, (seal.) 
Signed and delivered 
in the presence of 

Thomas Lovelace, 
Cornelius Van Ruyven. 

Recorded the day and year within written. 

Per Mathias Nicolls, Secretary. 

The payment agreed upon for the purchase herein men- 
tioned, was as follows: viz: 

10 Fathoms of black seewant or (wampum.) 
10 Fathoms of white seewant or (wampum.) 

5 Match coats of Duffells. 

4 Blankets. 

2 Gunners sight guns. 
2 Pistols. 

6 Double handfulls of Powder, (gispen bunches of 


5 Bars of Lead. 
10 Knives. 

2 Secret aprons of Duff ells, (Cuppas of Duffell.) 
1 Half fat or half barrell of Strong Beer. 

3 Cans of Brandy. 

6 Shirts. 

All the above particulars were received by the Sachem, 
and his two brothers, in the presence of the persons under 
written, as witnesses hereof. 

John Manning, 

Sylvester Salisbury, 

John Hough, 

Jacob Van Cortlandt, ") ct j t j 

^ . -_ , _^ f Supposed Judges or 

ieunis Jacob Hay, > t x- r .i -r, 

^- 1 ^ T , 1 Justices oi the Peace, 

iidward Carlisle. J 

Acknowledged before me, the Sachem and his two 

brothers, and the goods delivered in my presence, the day 

and year within written. 


It was one of the provisions of the Duke's Laws, that 
no purchase of land from the Indians should be valid 
without a licence from the Governor to make such pur- 
chase, and the purchaser was required to bring the Sachem 


or right owner, before tlie Governor, to confess satisfac- 
tion. It was in accordance with this provision, that not 
only Justices were appointed to superintend the above 
purchase, but the Sachem and his brothers appeared be- 
fore Governor Lovelace, and in his presence the payments 
were made, and the purchase concluded. The provisions 
relative to purchases from the Indians, to which we have 
alluded, were subsequently adopted, and embodied in a 
specific act, by the first Colonial Assembly, which met in 
the year 1683, under Governor Dongan. 

So much of the land thus acquired as the inhabitants of 
Flatbush had occasion for, they took up, enclosed, and 
improved. The rest was left in common, until by the in- 
crease of their population it should be needed. They re- 
mained thus in quiet possession of all their lands until the 
year 1675, when Captain Richard Betts laid claim to a 
certain parcel or tract, lying in the New Lots, for which 
he said he had obtained a deed from the Indians, of prior 
date to the one just recited, given in the year 1663. We 
are not able to locate precisely the premises thus called 
in question. The matter was tried at the court of Ses- 
sions, held in Gravesend, for that year, when the deed of 
Mr, Betts was allowed, and a verdict given in his favor. 
But an appeal was taken by the inhabitants of the town, 
to the General Court of Assizes, which was holden in the 
same year, 1675, in the city of New- York. Hereupon 
a full and fair hearing of the case, the verdict rendered at 
the court of Sessions was set aside, and the court ordered, 
as follows : — " That the land shall lye in common to 
fflatbush, and the townes adjacent, as it heretofore hath 
been, and that the towns who have the beneffit of the com- 
onage shall pay their equall proportion of the purchase 
money to the Indyans and costs of this suite." 


It was probably in consequence of this suit, that the in- 
habitants of Flatbush sought and obtained a separate pa- 
tent for that part of the town called New-Lots. This was 
granted by Gov. Edmond Andros on the 25th day of 
March, in the year 1677, to Arian Lamberse and others, to 
the number of thirty-seven persons. This Patent we have 
not been able to procure. It was probably granted on con- 
dition of the payment of a certain quit rent to the Gov- 
ernor, which opinion is confirmed from the fact, that com- 
plaint was subsequently made to the court of Sessions, 
held at Gravesend, against the constable of New Lots, for 
not taking up and paying over the same, upon which 
diverse orders were passed by the court relating thereto. 
About the time of the settlement of New Lots, several of 
the inhabitants of Midwout, or Flatbush, also removed to 
New-Jersey, and formed settlements on the Earitan and 
Milstone rivers, and also in the county of Monmouth, then 
called Neversink. Their numerous descendents now oc- 
cupy these and other different parts of New-Jersey. 

Shortly after this period, it would appear from some 
records of the Court of Sessions, held at Gravesend, that 
there was some dissatisfaction between the towns of Flat- 
bush and Flatlands, relative to their boundary line. It 
was fixed under the administration of Governor Nicolls, 
in the year 1666. But another award and agreement on 
the subject was made, bearing date the 11th day of May, 
1677. What the precise terms of this agreement were, we 
are unable to tell, as we have not been able to find the 
document. But not long after, it appears from the follow- 
ing extracts, from the records of the court, that the town 
of Flatlands complained of some trespass committed by the 
inhabitants of the town of Flatbush. At the session of the 
court held June 1679, we find the following record. " The 


inhabitants of fflatlands, complayning that the inhabitants 
of Flatbush have trespassed upon the land belonging to 
fflatlands aforesaid, contrary to an award made and agreed 
upon between both towns, and an order of court punctual- 
ly to observe the same, which being proved by the con- 
stable, and one of the oversees of Flatlands, aforesaid, and 
they not appearing to answer the complaint, and for their 
contempt in not observing the said award and order of 
court. The court orders that the said inhabitants shall 
pay as a fine to the publique, the sum of ten pounds, and 
to observe the said order of court. They also complayn, 
that the inhabitants of Flatbush have chopt of the marke 
of a tree, &c. To be deferred to the next court of Ses- 
sions, and they to have notice of it to answer the same." 

In December of the same year, (1679,) is the following 
record on the same subject. " The inhabitants of Flat- 
lands complain of the inhabitants of Flatbush, for tres- 
passing on their lands, contrary to an award made and 
agreed upon as hath formerly been made appear, and the 
said inhabitants of Flatbush fined the last court, the sum 
of ten pounds, for not observing the said award and agree- 
ment. Severall debates arising about running the line, 
the court being satisfyed the inhabitants of Flatbush com- 
mitted a trespass upon the inhabitants of Flatlands, doe 
order that the said fine shall be forthwith paid, or else 
execucon to issue forth for the same. The defendants 
moved for an appeal, which is granted." 

We might here introduce several somewhat curious ex- 
tracts from the minutes of the court of Sessions, relative 
to the town. We will simply present the following: 

In 1681, it is recorded, " The court doe order, that John 
Gerritson Van Marken, shall deliver up to the constable 
and overseers of Flatbush, all the books and writings be- 


longing to the town aforesaid, which, if he shall refuse to 
deliver, that then the constable of the said town is hereby- 
ordered and empowered to take them from the said 

In the same year, " There being a strange man in the 
custody of the constable of Flatbush, and no person lay- 
ing claim to him, the court order ye man shall be ap- 
praised and sold, and if any person shall hereafter lay 
lawful claim to him, and desire to have him again, he 
paying what lawful charges are out upon him, may have 
him again." 

In the same year, (1681,) is the following : " At the re- 
quest of some of the inhabitants of Flatbush, this court 
doe order, that the constable of the town give speedy no- 
tice to the inhabitants, that they forthwith fence their 
cornfields, and after legal warning given, any pei-son shall 
be found defective herein, that then said person or per- 
sons, so offending, shall be proceeded against, according 
to law, and to be complained against at the next Sessions." 

In 1682, is the following : " Upon the complaint of the 
constable of Flatbush, that there are severall persons in 
the said town, who doe refuse to pay there minister. The 
court doe order, that such persons who shall refuse to pay 
their said minister, it shall be taken from them by dis- 
tress." From the general prevalence of the voluntary 
principle at the present day, in the support of the gospel, 
and the abolishing of the unholy union of church and 
state, we look almost with wonder at such provisions and 

In the year 1683, there is another record relative to 
an alleged trespass by the inhabitants of Flatbush, upon 
the town of Flatlands, of nearly the same import with the 
one which we have quoted above, but we need not recite it. 


In 1685, in an action between Derick Storm, and the 
inhabitants of Flatbush, it is recorded, "An agreement 
read between Storm and Joseph Hegeman, Cornelius Ber- 
rian, John Stryker, William Guilliamsen, and others, in 
behalf of ye town of Fflatbush, nppon which. Storm 
prayed a sallarry, may be allowed him, for serving the 
town as schoolmaster to their children. Ordered that 
Court Steephens and Symou Jansen, examine ye accounts, 
and agreement between them, and these partys to stand to 
their determination." 

In the same year, Theodoras Polhemus, for refusing to 
stand constable for Flatbush, although legally elected, 
was by the court fined five pounds to the public. 

On the 7th, of November, 1685, at the session of the 
second colonial assembly, held under the administration 
of Governor Dongan, an act was passed for removing the 
court of Sessions of Kings county, from Gravesend to 
Flatbush. The cause for this, stated in the preamble of the 
act, is the inconvenience to which the inhabitants of the 
county are subjected, in travelling so far as Gravesend. 
Flatbush is about the geographical centre of the county of 
Kings, and afforded in this respect the most eligible place 
for holding the courts and presented the least disadvan- 
tages to the inhabitants of the county, who might have ju- 
dicial business to attend to. It was thenceforth named as 
the seat of justice for the county, and continued such 
till the year 1832, when the court-house was destroyed 
by fire. A court-house was accordingly erected in Flat- 
bush, in 1686, for the accommodation of the county, 
on the spot of ground which is still called the court- 
house lot. It remained till a larger one was built in 
the year 1758, an account of which we shall subsequently 


A controversy arose as early as 1678, between Flat- 
bush and Brooklyn, relative the boundary line between 
the respective towns. The northern boundary of the 
town of Flatbush according to their purchase from the In- 
dian proprietors and the patent which they had obtained 
was described to be by the hills. The inhabitants of 
Brooklyn, contended that their right of ownership ex- 
tended to the foot of the hills, and that this was the true 
and proper boundary line between the two towns, and that 
the Indian conveyances to both parties would admit of 
this and of no other construction. The inhabitants of 
Midwout on the other hand, contended, that such a con- 
struction of their northern boundary interfered with their 
just rights, and would lead to great embarrassment, doubt 
and uncertainty; nay, that from the general surface of 
the town of Flatbush, being an inclined plane, gradually 
sloping to the south, such a construction would locate 
their northern boundary in the town of Flatlands, and 
perhaps even in the Bay, or waters edge. In consequence 
of this difference, the matter was submitted to the deci- 
sion of the Court of Sessions. At a session of that court, 
held at Gravesend, on the 18th, of December, 1678, the 
subject of difference was, by consent of both towns, re- 
ferred to Captain Jaques Cortelyou, and Captain Richard 
Stillwell, to decide, and it was ordered that their 
" report should be determinative." Messrs. Cortelyou 
and Stillwell complied with the requisition of the 
court, and five years afterwards submitted the following 

" To the Worshipf ull Court of Sessions, now sitting at 
Gravesend, June 21st, 1683. These may certifie, that in 
obedience to an order from said court, and by consent of 
both towns, of Brooklyn and Flatbush, to runn the line be- 


twixt the said townes which are we underwritten have 
done, and marked the trees betwixt towne and towne, as 
wittnesse our hands, the daye and yeare above written, 


One of the trees thus marked by these arbitrators was 
a large white oak, standing near what is called the Port 
Eoad, and mentioned in the Patent granted by Governor 
Dongan, as one of the boundaries of the town. This tree 
remained till the time of the revolutionary war, when it 
was cut down by the Americans, and fallen across the 
road for the purpose of intercepting the British. A red 
free stone monument, with a proper inscription has sub- 
sequently been set up, at and near the stump of this tree, 
(which is yet in existence) by General Jeremiah Johnson, 
on the part of Brooklyn, and John C. Vanderveer, Esq. on 
the part of Flatbush. But unfortunately the stone has 
been so defaced by certain persons, who seem to take de- 
light in mutilating every thing, that only a few letters of 
the inscription can now be decyphered. 

The award of Messrs. Cortelyou and Stillwell, relative 
to the boundary line, notwithstanding the order of the 
court, appears not to have been " determinative." For 
in the next year, 1684, the line was run out by Philip 
Wells, a surveyor of Staten Island, and Jacobus Cortland, 
who were appointed for this purpose, by the two towns. 

The certificate of these gentlemen, is in the words fol- 
lowing : " To satisffie whom itt may concerne, that I be- 
ing with Mr. Jacobus Cortland, about the 20th, day off 
November, 1684, imployed by Breuckland and Fflack- 
bush, to vew and run out the line betweene the two 
townes, to the south of the hills, found that the line run 


fFormerly by Capts. Jaques Cortelyou and Mr. Stilwell, 
is right and just, which wee both being agreed, give in 
our approbation of the same. 

PHILIP WELLS, Surveyor:' 

Staaten-Island, in the County of Richmond, ) 
this 4th, day of April, 1687." ) 

Notwithstanding this, differences continued to exist for 
some years subsequently, but at length they have been 
amicably settled, upon the following principles, viz : That 
the summit of the hills or the first perceptible southerly 
declivity of any hill, should be deemed and taken as the 
fixed and determined line, and wherever the hills are cut 
off or interrupted by an intervening valley or hollow, the 
boundary line should extend in the shortest possible direc- 
tion, from the summit of one hill to that of the opposite 
one. In conformity with this determination, proper 
monuments have been placed on the boundary lines, to 
prevent, if possible, all future disputes. 

At an early period distinctive names were given to the 
several parts of the village of Flatbush. The north end 
was called Steenraap or Stone Gathering; the south end, 
Rustenburgh, or resting place or borough; while the cen- 
tre was denominated Dorp, or the Town. The Dutch 
words appropriated to either end of the village were ap- 
propriate, inasmuch as the ground on the north end of the 
town contains many small stones, on, and just below the 
surface, while comparatively few of these are found in the 
south end, which in consequence is more easy to culti- 
vate. In the northern section of the town, on the farm 
now in possession of the Widow Lefferts, were erected at 
an early period, two brick kilns, one on the back of the 
farm, and another near the large pond, not far from the 


main road, which from this circumstance has obtained the 
name of the Stein Bakerie Pond. At these kilns brick 
were burnt for the use of the inhabitants, but only small 
remains of them are now to be seen. 

On the 12th, day of November, 1685, the inhabitants of 
Flatbush applied to, and obtained from Colonel Thomas 
Dongan, the fourth English Governor of the Colony of 
New- York, a confirmatory Patent for the whole town, in- 
cluding the several former grants, or Patents of Midwout, 
or Flatbush, the Canarsee Meadows, Keuters Hook and 
Oustwout, or New-Lots. This Patent runs thus, to wit : 

" Thomas Dongan, Lieutenant Governor and Vice- 
Admiral of New- York, &c., under his majesty James the 
Second, by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland, 
France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c.. Supreme 
Lord and Proprietor of the Colony and Province of New- 
York and its dependencies in America. To all to whom 
these presents shall come, sendeth Greeting: Whereas, 
there is a certain town in Kings County, upon Long- 
Island, called and known by the name of Midwout, alias, 
Flatbush, the bounds whereof, begin at the mouth of the 
Fresh Kill, and so along by a certain Ditch which lies 
betwixt Amersf ort and Flatbush Meadows, and so running 
along the ditch and fence to a certain white oak marked 
tree, and from thence upon a straight line to the western- 
most point of a small island of woodland lying before 
John Stryker's bridge; and from thence with a straight 
line to the northwest hook or comer of the ditch of John 
Oakies meadow; and from thence along the said ditch 
and fence to the swamp of the Fresh Kill, and so 
along the swamp and hollow of the aforesaid Kill to 
the land of Keuter's Hook; thence along the same to a 
marked white oak tree; from thence with a straight line 


to a black oak marked tree standing upon the northeast 
side of Twiller's Flats, hawing a small snip of flats upon 
the southeast side of the line; and so from thence to a 
white oak tree standing to the west side of Moschito Hole 
to a small island, leaving a snip of flats in the Flatlands 
bounds; and from thence to a certain marked tree or 
stump, standing by the highway which goes to Flatlands 
upon the Little Flats, about twenty rods from Flatbush 
Lots, and so along the fence six hundred Dutch rods, to the 
comer of Flatbush fence, and so along the rear of the lots 
to a sassafras stump standing in Cornelius Jansen Berrian's 
lot of land ; and from thence with a straight line to a cer- 
tain old marked tree or stump, standing by the Rush Pond 
under the hills, and so along upon the south side of the hill 
till it comes to the west end of the Long Hill, and so along 
upon the south side of the said hill, till it comes to the 
east end of the long hill; and then with a straight line 
from the east end of the said long hill, to a marked white 
oak tree, standing to the west side of the road, near the 
place called the gate or port of hills ; and so from the east 
side of the port or gate aforesaid upon the south side of the 
main hills, as far as Brooklyn Patent doth extend ; and so 
along the said hills to the bounds of Jamaica Patent; and 
from thence with a southerly line, to the kill or creek by 
the east of the Plunders Neck, and so along the said kill 
to the sea, as according to the several deeds or purchases 
from the Indian owners, the Patent from Governor Nicolls, 
and the award between Brooklyn and the town of Flat- 
bush, relation thereunto being had, doth more fully and at 
large appear; And, whereas, application to me hath been 
made for a confirmation of the aforesaid tract and parcels 
of land and premises : Now Know ye, that by virtue of the 
commission and authority unto me given by hia majesty, 


James the Second, by the Grace of God, of England, Scot- 
land, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, 
Supreme Lord and Proprietor of the Province of New- 
York, in consideration of the premises and the quit rent 
hereinafter reserved, I have given, granted, ratified and 
confirmed, and by these presents, do give, grant, ratify and 
confirm, unto Cornelius Vanderwyck, John Okie, Joseph 
Hegeman, Aries Jansen Vanderbilt, Lafford Pieterson, 
William Guilliamsen, Hendrick Williamse, Pieter Wil- 
liamse, Arien Ryers, Peter Stryker, John Stryker, John 
Remsen, Jacob Hendricks, Derick Vandervleet, Hendrick 
Ryck, Okie Johnson, Daniel Polhemus, Peter Lott, Cor- 
nelius Vanderveer, Derick Johnson Hooglandt, Denise 
Teunis, John Johnson, Ditimus Lewis Jansen, William 
Jacobs, Hendrick Hegeman and Garrit Lubbertse, for and 
on the behalf of themselves and their associates, all the 
freeholders and inhabitants of the said town of Flatbush, 
and to their heirs and assigns forever, all the before re- 
cited tract and tracts, parcel and parcels, of land and 
islands within the said bounds and limits, together with 
all and singular, the woods, underwoods, plains, hills, 
meadows, pastures, quarries, marshes, waters, lakes, cause- 
ways, rivers, beaches, houses, buildings, fishing, hawking, 
hunting and fowling, with all liberties, privileges, hered- 
itaments and appurtenances to the said tract of land and 
premises belonging, or in any wise appertaining : To have 
and to hold the said tract of land and premises before 
mentioned, and intended to be given, granted and con- 
firmed, unto the said Cornelius Vanderwyck, John Okie, 
Joseph Hegeman, Aries Jansen Vanderbilt, Lafford Pie- 
terson, William Guilliamsen, Hendrick Williamse, Peter 
Guilliamsen, Arien Ryers, Peter Stryker, John Stryker, 
John Remsen, Jacob Hendricks, Derick Vandervleet, 
Hendrick Ryck, Okie Johnson, Daniel Polhemus, Peter 


Lott, Cornelius Vanderveer, Derick Johnson Hooglandt, 
Denise Tennis, John Johnson, Ditimus Lewis Jansen, 
William Jacobs, Hendrick Hegeman, and Garrit Lub- 
bertse, the said patentees and their associates, their heirs 
and assigns, forever. To be holden of his majesty in free 
and common soccage, according to the tenure of East 
Greenwick, in the county of Kent, in his majesty's king- 
dom of England: Yielding, rendering, and paying there- 
for, yearly, and every year, at the city of New- York, unto 
his majesty, his heirs or successors, or to his or their 
officer or officers, as by him or them shall be appointed to 
receive the same, eighteen bushels of good merchantable 
wheat, on or before the five and twentieth daj' of March, 
yearly and every year. 

" In Testimony whereof, I have caused these presents to 
be entered upon record, in the Secretary's office in the said 
Province, and the seal thereof, have hereunto affixed, and 
signed with my hand, this twelfth day of November, in 
the first year of his majesty's reign. Anno Domini, 1685. 


It will be perceived, that by the above recited Patent 
granted by Governor Dongan, to the freeholders and in- 
habitants of the town of Midwout alias Flatbush, that the 
tenure by which they held their lands is denominated a 
tenure " in free and common soccage." The tenures of 
lands which were authoratively established in England, in 
the reign of William the Conqueror, were principally of 
two kinds, according to the services annexed. They were 
either denominated tenures by knight service, or tenures 
in free and common soccage. The tenures by knight 
service, in which the services were occasionally uncertain, 
were altogether of a military nature, and esteemed highly 
honorable according to the martial spirit of the times. 


These tenures however, in addition to the obligation of 
fealty and the military services of forty days in a year, 
were subject to certain other hard conditions, which we 
need not here enumerate, but which gradually rendered 
them more and more oppressive and increased the power 
of the feudal lords. At length upon the restoration of 
Charles the Second, to the crown of Great Britain, the 
tenure by knight service with all its grievous incidents, 
was abolished by law, and the tenure of land was, for the 
most part, turned into free and common soccage, and 
every thing oppressive in that tenure was also abolished. 

A soccage tenure according to which the town of Mid- 
wout, or riatbush, was patented, denotes lands held by a 
fixed and determinate service which is not military nor in 
the power of the lord to vary at his pleasure. It was the 
certainty and specific nature of the service, duty, or ren- 
der, which made this species of tenure such a safeguard 
against the wanton exactions of the feudal lords, and ren- 
dered it of such inestimable value in view of the ancient 
English. It was deemed by them a point of the utmost 
importance, to change their tenures by knight service, into 
tenures by soccage. 

All lands granted by Patent by Governor Dongan, and 
the other subsequent English governors, were in free and 
common soccage, and subject to an annual render or rent 
charge, called quit rent. In the Patent of the town of 
Midwout, this render or rent charge was fixed at eighteen 
bushels of good winter merchantable wheat, to be yielded, 
rendered and paid yearly and every year, at the city of 
New- York, on or before the 25th, of March, in every year 
to the king, his heirs and successors, or to such ofiicer or 
officers as he or they should appoint to receive the same. 
This render and delivery of wheat, was regularly and an- 


nually made by the freeholders and inhabitants of this 
town, to an officer residing in the city of New- York, ap- 
pointed to receive the same, and styled "the Receiver 
General." The quit rent continued to be paid in kind, till 
it became more convenient for the inhabitants to pay, and 
the crown to receive money, in the place of wheat. The 
Receiver General was then authorized and required in 
equity and good conscience, to estimate the standard value 
of wheat in money. According to his determination, wheat 
was valued in money, at four shillings and eight pence a 
bushel, New- York currency. This appears to have been the 
standard value thereof for years. From this time onward, 
the quit rents of the town were regularly paid in money, 
according to the then estimated value every year, until 
the 25th, day of March, 1762. Why the payments were 
not regularly and annually continued, from and after that 
time, does not appear. The delay may perhaps be ascribed 
to the agitations then existing in the- country, caused by 
events which led to the war of the revolution. 

Soccage tenures are however considered by Chancellor 
Kent, from whose commentaries on American laws, the 
above recited account of tenures is taken, as of feudal ex- 
traction, and retain some of the leading properties of 
feuds. But most of the feudal incidents and consequences 
of soccage tenures were expressly abolished in the State of 
New- York, shortly after the termination of the revolu- 
tionary war, and they are wholly and entirely annihilated 
by the Revised Statutes, which took effect on the 1st, of 
January, 1830. But soccage lands were not to be deemed 
discharged of any rents, certain or other services, inci- 
dent or belonging to tenure in soccage, due to the people 
of the State (who were considered to stand in the place 
of the crown.) Therefore on the 1st, day of April, 1786, 


the Legislature of this State passed an Act, entitled " An 
Act for the collection and commutation of Quit Rents." 
By this act it is provided that it shall and may be lawful 
to, and for every person and persons, being citizens of the 
United States, who is, or shall be seized of any lands, or 
tenements, in this State, charged with an annual quit 
rent, to commute for the same, by paying fourteen shil- 
lings for every shilling, of such annual quit rent, at any 
time on or before the first day of May, 1787, in any public 
securities receivable in payment on sales of confiscated 
estates, or in any other securities or certificates, issued 
or to be issued by the Treasurer of this State, and at the 
same rate, such securities and certificates are receivable 
in payment for confiscated estates, to the Treasurer of 
this State, for the time being, for the use of the people of 
this State: and the said Treasurer shall, upon such pay- 
ment, give the person making such payment a receipt or 
certificate, expressing the sum paid, the annual quit rent 
in lieu of which the same is paid, and the land on which 
the said annual quit rent was charged or reserved, 
and shall enter the same receipt in a book, by him to be 
kept for that purpose, which receipt or certificate, or the 
entry thereof, shall be a good discharge of such quit rent 

In compliance with the provisions of the Act above re- 
cited, the inhabitants of the town of Flatbush purchased 
public securities, to the amount of £162. 9. 0. which 
amount they paid to Gerard Bancker, the Treasurer of 
the State, oji the 18th, day of December, 1786, and upon 
the payment thereof obtained from him the following re- 
ceipt, or certificate. 

"Patent granted to the inhabitants of Flatbush, in 
Kings County, dated 12th November, 1685, Quit Rent, 
eighteen bushels wheat per annum. 


Balance due 25th, March, 1765. 

From 25th, March, 1765, 

to 25th, Decern, 1786. 

(Deduct for the period of revolution,) 8 

pr. Ann. 
14 years commut. 


12 12. 

y. m. 

21 9 

1,) 8 


13 9 a 




74 5 

252 ' 


75 12 

£162 9 0. 

Eeceived, 18th, December, 1786, from Philip Nagle, of 
Flatbush, Public Securities, which with the interest 
allowed thereon, amount to one hundred and sixty two 
pounds, nine shillings, in full, for arrears of Quit Rent, 
and commutation, for the future quit rents that would 
have arisen on the above described Patent. 


£162 9 00. 

The town of Flatbush upon the payment of the above- 
mentioned sum of money, for arrears of quit rent, and 
commutation of future quit rents became exhonerated 
from all further exactions on the score of such rents. 

But to retuni from this digression, to the regular his- 
tory of the town of Midwout, which was brought down to 
the time in which Governor Dongan administered the 
Colonial Government. The woodlands still remained in 
common and undivided, because the farms previously al- 
lotted, had all along furnished timber sufficient for build- 
ing, fuel and other needful purposes. But as these re- 
sources began gradually to diminish, it became necessary 


as well as dictated by prudence, that some order should 
be taken on the partition and division of the common 
woodlands. About the year 1700, these lands were sur- 
veyed, and laid off in separate allotments or grand divi- 
sions, and these were again severally subdivided into 
forty-eight smaller allotments, corresponding with the 
original division of the town. These smaller allotments 
were all laid out in oblong forms with parallel lines, and 
usually containing about five acres apiece. Upon the 
completion of the survey, the several wood lots were al- 
lotted to the inhabitants of the town, in proportion to the 
farm lots by them respectively owned, and the church 
drew its proportionate share with the several owners. 

The meadows had been previously subdivided into sim- 
ilar lots, and allotted in like manner, with the exception 
of one lot in the Canarsee Meadows, which was set apart 
for the use of the schoolmaster, for the time being. Cor- 
laer's and Twiller's Flats, so called after the names of 
the original purchasers, Anthony Van Corlaer and Wou- 
ter Van Twiller, the first Dutch governor, were also 
previously subdivided, but not fully alloted, with the ex- 
ception of a small tract of woodland lying between, and 
adjoining these Flats, which was assigned to some of the 
patentees, and a lot reserved for the use of the school. 

About the year 1706, an encroachment was made on 
the patent of the town of Flatbush, by inhabitants of 
^Newtown, and on the 3d day of April, in the same year, 
the town unanimously agreed that every patentee should 
contribute six shilling to carry on and pay the expenses of 
a law suit, in defending the Patent from this encroach- 
ment. From this time forth at the annual town meet- 
ings, two persons were chosen to guard the interests of 
the town in regard to their meets and bounds, as set forth 


in their Patent. These were called " Dorps mannen," or 
Townsmen, and subsequently Defenders of the Patent. 
This controversy appears not to have been satisfactorily 
adjusted until the year 1721. 

Corlaer's and Twiller's Flats, remained unoccupied un- 
til the close of the revolutionary war. They were then 
sold by the proprietors and owners, at the rate of sixteen 
dollars per acre. The proceeds of the sale of Corlaer's 
Flats, were chiefly devoted to the erection of " Erasmus 
Hall Academy," while those arising from the sale of 
Twiller's Flats, were divided among those who would 
not consent to relinquish their right for the benefit of 
the academy, in reference to which, chiefly the sales had 
been effected. The academy was greatly benefitted by 
this sale, but we shall have occasion to speak more at 
large upon this, when we come to trace the Literary His- 
tory of the town. 

On the 12th of November, 1695, the court made an or- 
der requiring each of the towns to cause to be immedi- 
ately erected, a good pair of stocks, and a good pound, 
by which it seems, they were resolved to keep both man 
and beast in proper subjection. Whether this order at 
the time was strictly complied with on the part of the 
town of Flatbush, we know not. But twenty-nine years 
after this, on the records of the Board of Supervisors of 
the county, under date of the 17th of November, 1724, 
there is the following charge. 

"To a Stocks for Flatbush, - - £1. 9. 6." 
These stocks remained for a number of years. They 
were erected in front of the court-house, and many will 
remember to have seen them. There was also about 
these same premises, a whipping-post, which was used 
partly for offenders in the town, and partly for the pun- 


ishment of persons convicted of small crimes; for there 
was a public whipper, whose fee was fixed for a year, at 
three pounds. The fee for whipping one person, was 
three shillings. These charges frequently appear on the 
Minutes of the Board of Supei^isors. This mode of pun- 
ishment was not in that day, considered improper or 
cruel, and was resorted to, probably, partly in consequence 
of the number of slaves which were then held by the sev- 
eral inhabitants, who were kept in subjection and pun- 
ished for minor offences, in this summary manner. We 
have reason to be thankful that under the benign influ- 
ence of mild and wholesome laws, this remnant of the 
reign of cruelty and terror has passed away. 

As early as the commencement of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, if not sooner, a public brewery was established in the 
town. The principle of total abstinence from all that can 
intoxicate was not then known or practiced, and beer or 
malt liquor was the common beverage of the inhabitants, 
and continued to be so until the orchards were planted and 
came into full bearing, when cider became a substitute. 
The brew-house was situated in the southern part of the 
town, a little north of the dwelling-house of the late Jacob 
Duryee and on the same side of the road. It is presumed 
by some that there was also another public brewery in the 
north of the town. It is certain, however, that there were 
two private ones; one on the lot of the late Peter Stryker 
back of the store now occupied by Messrs. Birdsall & Aid- 
worth, and another on the property of Kem Vanderbilt, 
the proprietor of the farm now in the tenure of Matthew 
Clarkson, Esq. The public brewery was divided into four- 
teen shares, which were subdivided into halves and per- 
chance quarters. These rights were apportioned to the 
several farms and considered appurtenant to them, and en- 


titled the proprietors to the privilege of brewing in the 
establishment. These rights were disposed of by deed or 
testamentary devise. A will is in existence dated as late 
as 1773, devising the right of the testator in the brewery to 
his son; and several wills and deeds of early date are to 
be found, containing provisions relative to the same sub- 
ject. So important was the right in this establishment at 
that time deemed by the proprietors. The public brew- 
house continued to stand until after the close of the Amer- 
ican Revolution. It was then sold, together with all its fix- 
tures, and the proceeds divided among the shareholders. 

We may here briefly advert to the style of building, and 
domestic habits of the early inhabitants of Flatbush. The 
designs of their houses were probably brought from Fa- 
derland. They were chiefly built of wood, but some few 
of brick, which was manufactured in the place. They 
were of one story, either with an overshot-roof, both in 
front and rear forming a piazza — or an overshot in front, 
and the roof in the rear, extending some distance back un- 
til it came within a few feet of the ground. A specimen 
of this last style of architecture may be seen in the house 
belonging to the heirs of the late Cornelius Antonides, 
which is probably the oldest house now standing in the 
village. The rooms inside were not ceiled, but above 
were the broad heavy oak beams on which the floor of the 
upper-part of tbe house was laid. The fire-places usu- 
ally were very large, generally extending without jambs in 
width sufiicient to accommodate the whole family with a 
seat near the fire. The chimneys were very large and 
spacious, sufiiciently so to admit their meat to be hung in 
them, for the purpose of being smoked, which was the 
usual practice. When jambs were added to any fire- 
place, they were generally set round with earthen glazed 


tiles, which were imported from Holland ornamented with 
various scenes, some of which were of a Scriptural char- 
acter. Many of these were quite beautiful and gave a 
very ornamental appearance to the fireside, as well as 
formed the means of much amusement and instruction to 
the younger part of the family. The last of these fire- 
places thus ornamented was removed when the house of 
the late Lefferts Martense was pulled down, to give place 
to the spacious mansion now occupied by Judge Garrit 
Martense. To many of the houses the barns also were 
quite closely connected. This was generally the case with 
the Keuters. This style of building corresponded with 
the habits of the earlier inhabitants. These were very 
simple, unaffected and economical. No people could have 
been more independent than they. They brought up 
their children in habits of industry. As has been stated 
every son was taught some mechanical art, and every 
daughter was required to become well acquainted with 
all household duties. The farmers burnt their own lime, 
tanned their own leather, often made their own shoes 
and boots, and attended to much of their own carpenter- 
ing, and wheel-wrig'hting. While the males were engaged 
in the cultivation of the farms, the females were actively 
employed in some industrious avocations in the house. 
The spinning-wheel was set in motion in every family 
as soon as flax and wool could be prepared in the fall, 
and all materials for the clothing of the family, white 
as well as colored, were manufactured at home, nor was 
she considered a suitable candidate for matrimony who 
could not show her stores of domestic linens and other 
evidences of industry and economy. So economical were 
the females of their time, that they almost invariably 
took their spinning-wheels with them when they went to 


spend a sociable afternoon with a neighbor. Nor did they 
even refuse to help the males in the field during the 
harvest, the gathering of corn, and other busy seasons. It 
was a very common thing for them to be seen working 
side by side with their husbands, fathers and brothers, at 
such times. The modern invention of a dirt-cover, as it 
would in those days have been esteemed, which we now 
call a carpet, was not then known. The floors were regu- 
larly scoured and scrubbed, and kept as white and clean 
almost as the table. They were sanded with beach sand, 
of which every family always had a sufiicient store, it be- 
ing the rule to go twice a year to the beach for that then, 
indispensable article. It was put on the floor with great 
care on certain days, being always laid in small lumps or 
heaps, and the members of the family were required very 
cautiously to tread between these heaps so as not to dis- 
turb the economy of the good housewife. When on the 
next day the sand had become dry, it was swept in waves 
or some other figures, by the broom being drawn lightly 
over it, and was in truth a good specimen of the general 
neatness and cleanliness which pervaded the whole prem- 
ises. When the first imported carpets were introduced we 
know not, but the first rag carpet was made about fifty 
years ago. It was wove by Adrian Hegeman for the 
widow of George Martense, the mother of the present 
Mrs. Catin. Frugality, economy and industry, character- 
ised all. They lived chiefly within themselves, and knew 
but little of the dangers and diseases incident to luxury 
and indolence. And well would it be for the present age, 
if instead of ridiculing and despising them they practiced 
more of their simple, unaffected, economical habits. For 
one I love to dwell upon them, and every thing connected 
with them is interesting. 


In the early part of this century a murder was com- 
mitted in the town, and in fact the only one that we have 
any account of. It occurred on the farm now in the ten- 
ure of Mrs. Catin. The dwelling-house of the ancestor 
of the family of Martense, who possessed a very extensive 
tract of land, was situated on the rear of the farm. From 
his owning- and cultivating so large a quantity of land, 
he was called by way of distinction Martin De Boer, 
(Martin the Farmer.) He built a new house on the main 
road in front of his farm near the site of the present 
dwelling of Mrs. Catin. When he moved to this house 
he left in the cellar of his former old dwelling an Indian. 
This person it appears had been guilty of killing some 
person or persons on Staten Island. In consequence of 
this, certain Indians from Staten Island came to Flat- 
bush, found him living alone in the cellar of the house 
which stood separate from the other dwellings, and mur- 
dered him — thus glutting their revenge. During the first 
half of the last century, the inhabitants of Flatbush were 
chiefly engaged in certain difficulties of an ecclesiastical 
character, and during the latter half were occupied with 
the troubles growing out of the Revolutionary struggle. 
These will be made the subject of more extended notice 
hereafter, and we pass them for the present. 

The introduction of foreign manures, forms an era in 
the agricultural history of the town. For more than a 
century the farmers depended entirely upon their barn 
yards to furnish the means of enriching their lands, to- 
gether with such quantities of shell lime as they could 
manufacture for themselves. There was a lime kiln, sit- 
uated not far from the place now occupied by the public 
pound, at which, large quantities of shells were burnt. 
The lime thus procured, was spread upon the ground, and 


tended, no doubt, greatly to increase its productiveness. 
But a short time previous to the American Revolution, the 
attention of the farmers was called to foreign manures, 
particularly to ashes. The first that was introduced into 
the village was by Jacobus Van Deventer. He brought it 
up from Brooklyn, in bags. It was tried and found to an- 
swer a good purpose, and then three other persons, viz. John 
Lefferts, Cornelius Vanderveer, and Judge Lott, united 
with him in carting it from the ferry. It could then be 
purchased at a very moderate rate. From that time the 
attention of the farmers was more directly turned to the 
enriching of their lands, and vast quantities of manures 
of various kinds have since been employed, in consequence 
of which, the land has been rendered rich and fertile. 

In the year 1758 a new court-house was erected in the 
town. The first edifice was quite small, and was a dis- 
tinct building from the jail. One of these buildings took 
fire in the winter of 1757-8 and burnt to the ground, the 
other was saved chiefly by throwing snow-balls upon it. 
It was however subsequently taken down, and in the new 
building which was put up, accommodations were made 
for both the court and jail. It was two stories high. The 
lower floor was divided by an entry, on the south side of 
which was a room for the use of the jailor, and on the 
north a room for the confinement of prisoners. The second 
story was fitted up in a large room for the accommodation 
of the courts of the county. During the Revolutionary 
war the British ofl&cers then in the place took out all the 
seats in this room and converted it into a ball-room. This 
building which cost £448, remained with some repairs, un- 
til the year 1792. It being then found inconvenient, too 
small, and much out of repair, a new one was erected 
which was placed considerably farther back on the lot. 


and was of much larger dimensions. It was of two 
stories, and planned in general after the model of the 
old one. This plan was drawn by Mr. James Robinson, 
and is called, in the minutes of the Board of Supervisors 
" the wooden plan," from the fact probably that the erec- 
tion was to be a frame building. John Vanderbilt, Jo- 
hannes E. Lott and Charles Doughty, Esqs., were first 
appointed the Commissioners to superintend the build- 
ing of this court-house and jail. Mr. Vanderbilt having 
resigned the appointment, Rutgert Van Brunt, was after- 
wards commissioned in his place. The old building was 
then sold at public auction. It was purchased by Michael 
Van Cleef, for the sum of seventy-one pounds. The tim- 
ber was afterwards bought by the Rev. Martinus Schoon- 
maker, and used in building the house lately occupied by 
his son, Stephen Schoonmaker. The court-house and jail 
was completed in the year 1793. It was a very respectable 
looking frame building, surmounted by a small cupola. 
The jail, however, was not very secure; several escapes 
were made from it, although it was often repaired and 
strengthened. On the 30th of November, 1832, it took 
fire from some unknown cause, and was burnt to the 
ground, and from that time Flatbush ceased to be the 
county town, and the courts and all judicial business, 
were removed to Brooklyn. 

The ancient government of the town of Flatbush was 
similar to that of all the towns under the administration 
of the Dutch authority. In the infancy of the settlements, 
the Governor appointed magistrates in the several vil- 
lages, with more or less power, as he judged proper. Usu- 
ally these public ofiicers were a scout or constable, a clerk 
and an assessor, all of which, were appointed by the Gov- 
ernor. The duties of these ofiicers consisted in preserving 


the peace, and regulating the police of the town. They 
appear also to have had power to give judgment in some 
cases of judicial proceedings. In consequence of a defi- 
ciency in the records of the town, we are not able to give 
the names of those who held these offices during the 
dynasty of New-ISTetherlands. After the surrender of the 
colony to the English, in 1664, and the adoption of the 
Dukes Laws, some alterations were made in the number 
and character of the town officers. It was then ordered, 
that in addition to a clerk, each town should elect one con- 
stable and eight overseers. The duties of the constable 
were laid down with great particularity. They were to 
hold town courts, with the overseers, and with them to 
make assessments, &c. to whip or punish offenders, raise 
the hue and cry after murderers, manslayers, thieves, rob- 
bers, burglars : and also apprehend without warrant, such 
as were overtaken with drink, swearing, sabbath-breaking, 
vagrant persons, or night walkers, " provided they be 
taken in the manner, either by the sighte of the constable, 
or by present informacon from others; as alsoe to make 
searche for all such persons, either on ye sabbath daye, 
or other, when there shall bee occation, in all houses li- 
censed to sell beere or wine, or any other suspected or dis- 
ordered places, and these to apprehend and keepe in safe 
custody, till opportunity serv'^es, to bring them before the 
next justice of ye peace, for further examinacon." The 
constable was chosen out of the number of overseers, 
whose term of service had expired. 

The list of the constables will be given subsequently. 

The overseers were appointed in the following manner, 
according to the provisions of the Dukes Laws. " Over- 
seers shall be eight in number, men of good fame and life, 
chosen by the plurality of voiyes of the freeholders in 


each towne, whereof foure shall remaine in their office two 
yeares successively, and foure shall be changed for new 
ones, every yeare; which election shall preceed the elec- 
tion of constables, in point of time, in regard the con- 
stable for the yeare ensuing, is to bee chosen out of that 
number which are dismist from their office of overseers," 
The following is a summary of the duties of the overseers, 
as stated by Judge Furman, in his notes on Brooklyn. 
They were authorized together with the constable, to hold 
town courts, for the trial of causes under £5. On the death 
of any person, they were to repair with the constable to the 
house of the deceased, and inquire after the manner of his 
death, and of his will and testament; and if no will was 
found, the constable, in the presence of the overseers, was, 
within forty-eight hours, to search after the estate of the 
deceased, and to deliver an account of the same, in writ- 
ing, under oath, to the next justice of the peace. They to- 
gether with the constable, made all assessments. If any 
overseer died during his term, the rest of the overseers by 
a major vote, made choice of another in his place : and if 
the person so chosen, refuse to serve, he forfeited the sum 
of £10. towards defraying the town charges. They were to 
settle the bounds of the town, within twelve months after 
the bounds were granted. They had the power of regu- 
lating fences. They were authorized, together with the 
constable, to make choice of two out of the eight over- 
seers, of church affairs. They and the constable were fre- 
quently to admonish the inhabitants, "to instruct their 
children and servants, in matters of religion, and the lawes 
of the country." They, with the constable, appointed an 
officer " to record every man's particular marke, and see 
each man's horse and colt branded." The constable and 
two of the overseers, were to pay the value of an Indian 


coat for each wolf killed; and they were to cause the 
wolf's head to be " nayled over the door of the constable, 
their to remaine, as also to cut of both the eares, in token 
that the head is bought and paid for." 

The following is the most complete list of the overseers 
of Flatbush that could be obtained. 

1675. Simon Hansen, and John Roloffson. 

1676. Arian Ryers, and Garrit Sneger. 

1679. Joseph Hegeman, and Derick Jansen Van Vleet. 

1680. Barent Claas, Cornelius Berrian, and Joseph 


1681. Cornelius Berrian, Rinier Aertsen, Barthold 

Claases and Jan Remsen. 

1682. Rynier Aeartsen, Jan Jansen, Jan Remsen and 

Arian Ryersen. 

1683. Aris Janse, Jan Aeartsen, Jan Jansen, and 

John Auky. 
In the year 1683, the " overseers," were changed to 
" commissioners." The act regulating their appointment, 
and prescribing particularly their duties, was passed by 
the first General Assembly of this Colonj^ November 1st, 
1683. It is not necessary to recite the provisions of this 
act. The only list that we have been able to obtain of the 
commissioners appointed under this act, in the town of 
Flatbush, is the following: 

1684. Adrian Ryersen, Cornelius Baronson and John 


1685. Stoffle Probasco, and Joseph Hegeman. 

1686. Arian Ryers and Pieter Stryker. 

1687. Aris Janse, and Stoffle Probasco. 

1688. Pieter Stryker, and Cornelius Bardulph. 

The constables, overseers and commissioners, were 
sworn before the court of Sessions, before they entered 


upon the discharge of the duties of their respective 

The office of " Commissioner " continued until the first 
Tuesday of April, 1703, when " Supervisors " were elected 
for the several towns of Kings County. The first meeting 
of this board, was held on the first Tuesday in October, of 
the same year. It is probable, that at first they kept no 
minutes of their proceedings, as the first record is that of 
a meeting which took place at the court-house in Flat- 
bush, on the first Tuesday in October, in the year 1714. 
The Supervisor who then attended from Flatbush, was 
Ryck Hendrickson. The board at this, their first recorded 
meeting, made choice of Samuel Garretson, of Gravesend, 
as their Clerk, and John Vanderbilt, of Flatbush, as 
Treasurer of the county. At that time, the ordinary and 
contingent expenses of the county, (including the per 
diem compensation of the two members of the Colonial 
Assembly from the county, for their attendance during 
the year 1703.) amounted to only £71. 0. 6. or $177.56. 
This sum was apportioned among the several towns in the 
county in the following manner. 

Brooklyn, £19. 9. 3. 

Flatbush, 15. 1. 6. 

New-Utrecht 9. 18. 9. 

Flatlands, 8. 14. 9. 

Bushwick, 9. 3. 0. 

Gravesend, 8. 13. 3. 

£71. 0. 6.— $177.56. 

The following is a list of the Supervisors of the town 
of Flatbush, from the year 1703, to the present time. 



Aris Vanderbilt, 



[, 1703 to 

April 1705. 

Daniel Polhemus, 






Jacob Hendrick Eyck, 






Aris Jansen Vanderbilt, 






Jan Vanderveer, 






Benjamin Hegeman, 






Eyck Hendricks, 






Jan Cornelise, 






Jacob Hendrickson, 






Eyck Hendrickson, 






John Vanderveer, 






Daniel Eemse, 






Jacob Suydam, 






Dominicus Vanderveer, 






Lieut. Philip Nagle, 






Cornelius Cornell, 






Abraham Lott,' 






Eyck Hendrickson, 






John Vanderveer, 






Cornelius Cornell, 






Peter Lefferts, 






Johannes Ditmarse, 






Eyck Suydam, 






John Van Kerk, 






Peter Stryker, 






John Van Kerk, 






Dominicus Vanderveer, 






Johannes Lott, Jun. 






Jeremias Vanderbilt, 






Johannes Lott, Jun. 






Philip Nagel, 







Johannes J. Lott, 

From April, 

1787 to April 


John C. Vanderveer, 

a a 



John Wyckoff, 

a a 

1832 to Feby. 


Isaac Cortelyou, 

From Febry. 



Jacob Eapelje, 

u u 

1839 to Apl. 


Isaac Cortelyou, 

" April 



The following is a list of the Town Clerks of the town 
of Flatbush, from the year 1659, to the year 1842. 



Adrian Hegeman, 


1659 to 1771 

Jacop Joosten, 




Francays De Bruynne, 




Michael Hainelle, 




Jan Gerrit Van Marckje, 




Derick Storm, 




Johannes Van Eklen, 




Johannes Schenck, 




Abraham Lott, 




Jan Cancel, 




Adrian Hegeman, 




Jores Eemsen, 




Jeremias Van Der Bilt, 




Petrus Van Steenbergh, 




John Lefferts, 




Philip Nagle, 




John Van Der Bilt, 



' 1794 

John C. Vanderveer, 


1794 ' 

' 1804 

Garret Stryker, 



' 1810 

Abraham Vanderveer, 



' 1816 

Garret Stryker, 


1816 ' 


Adrian Hegeman, 


1819 ' 

' 1823 

William Ellsworth, 
William Hegeman, 
John A. Lott, 














The following is the most complete list of the Con- 
stables of the town of Flatbush, that could be obtained 
from the year 1669, to the year 1842. 



Jacob Stryker, 

From 1669 



Bartholf Clairesen, 




Cornelius Barentse, 




Minne Johannes, 




Cornelius Jansen, 




Joseph Hegeman, 




Cornelius Jansen Be 





Kien Aeartsen, 




Cornelius Barentse, 




Kinier Aeartsen, 




Jan Ditmarsen, 




Simon Hanssen, 




Pieter Stryker, 




Daniel Polhemus, 


Jan Bennem, 




Jacob Van Der Boergh, 




Jan Bennem, 




Jacob Van Der Boergh, 




Jan Bennem, 




Hendericus Kip, 




John Van Der Veer, 
John Bennet, Dep. 





Cornelius Cornell, 





Johannes Symonsen, 


1718 to 1719. 

Isaac Snedecker, 




Jan Bennet, 




Jan Walderom, 




Abraham Lott, 




Joris Bloom, 




Peter Luyster, 


1724 ' 


Johannes Lott, 


1725 ' 


Isaac Lefferts, 




Lawrence Ditmarse, 




Jacob Eemsen, 




Johannes Ditmarse, 




Eobert Betts, 




Philippus Nagel, 




Nicholas Wyckoff, 




Gilliam Cornell, 




Peter Stryker, 




Nicholas Stillwell, 




Jacob Boerum, 




Joseph Benham, 




Cornelius Suydam, 


1738 ' 


Nicholas Andriesen, 


1739 ' 


Garret Van Duyn, 




Jeremias Van Der Bilt, 




Jan Laen, 




Thomas Doxse, 



' 1746. 

Cornelius Van Cleeff, 




Leffert Lefferts, 



' 1749. 

Aris Morffee, 



' 1751. 

Adriaen Hegeman, 




Vincentius Antonides, 


1769 ' 

' 1791. 

William Merrill, 




William Allgeo, 




















William Merrill, From 

William Allgeo, " 

William Merrill, " 

Michael Van Cleeff, " 

Rem Hegeman, " 

William Allgeo, " 

Suydam Hegeman, " 

From among the inhabitants of the town of Flatbush, 
the county have selected at different times many indi- 
viduals to fill their county offices, as well as to represent 
them in the legislative assemblies of the country. From 
the year 1714, at which date the first minutes of the 
Board of Supervisors of the county commence, till the 
year 1840, the treasurers of the county were, with one 
exception, residents in the town of Flatbush. The fol- 
lowing is a list of the individuals who have served in this 
responsible office: — 

John Vanderbilt, of Flatbush, from October, 1714, to 

October, 1737. 
Peter Lefferts, of Flatbush, from October, 1737, to Oc- 
tober, 1772. 
Jeremias Vanderbilt, of Flatbush, from October, 1772, 

to May, 1786. 
Philip Nagel, of Flatbush, from May, 1786, to June, 

Johannes J. Lott, of Flatbush, from June, 1792, to De- 
cember, 1806. 
Hendrick J. Lott, of Flatlands, from December, 1806, 

to October, 1811. 
John Lefferts, of Flatbush, from October, 1811, to Sep- 
tember, 1813. 
John C. Vanderveer, of Flatbush, from September, 
1813, to August, 1837. 


John A. Lott, of Flatbush, from August, 1837, to 

August, 1840. 
John Skillman, of Brooklyn, from August, 1840, to 

August, 1842. 

The following is a specimen of the usual Minute of 
the Board of Supervisors, in the former part of the last 
century, relative to auditing the accounts of their Treas- 
urer. It is full, unique and characteristic of the age. 

" The Supervisors have examined their Treasurer and 
called in their warrants, and have taken the reckonings 
of their Treasurer, John Vanderbilt, and found that he 
had done as an honest man, and he is acquitted of all 
reckonings concerning the Supervisors, and is in Cassa 
or money, the sum of £00. 06. 4." 

The following is a list of the Clerks of the Board of 
Supervisors, from 1714 to 1842. 

1714 to 1715, Samuel Garritson, Gravesend. 

1715 to 1724, J. M. Sperling, Flatbush. 

1724 to 1725, Adrian Hegeman, " 

1725 to 1727, J. M. Sperling, " 
1727 to 1752, Adrian Hegeman, " 
1752 to 1775, Simon Boerum, Brooklyn. 
1775 to 1782, Johannes Lott, Flatbush. 
1782 to 1784, Johannes J. Lott, " 

1784 to 1785, Nicholas Couwenhoven, New-Utrecht. 

1785 to 1801, Jacob Sharpe, Jr., Brooklyn. 
1801 to 1842, Jeremiah Lott, Flatbush. 

Among the Judges of this county anterior to the Amer- 
ican Revolution, we find the following from Flatbush. 

Cornelius Sebring, from 1715 to 1718. 


Peter Stryker, from 

Daniel Polhemus, " 

Kyck Suydam, " 

Johannes Lott, " 

Abraham Lott, " 

John Lefferts, " 
Philip Nagel, 

Englebert Lott and ) 
Jeremiah Vanderbilt, i 






















1777 to 1780. 

After the Revolution, the second first Judge of the 
county, was Johannes E. Lott, of this town. He re- 
mained upon the bench about six years. Beside these 
several associate judges of the court, have from time to 
time been taken from Flatbush, which we need not name. 

But among those who have represented this county in 
the Legislative Assemblies of the country, we find many 
who were inhabitants of Flatbush. In the Colonial as- 
semblies, w^ho met at different periods, from 1683 to 1775, 
we notice the following names. 

Johannes Van Ecklen, from 

Henry Filkin, " 

Cornelius Sebring, " 

Gerardus Beekman, " 

Cornelius Sebring, " 

Johannes Lott, " 

Abraham Lott, " 

Dominicus Vanderveer, " 

Among the Deputies from the county of Kings, who 
met in the city of New-York, in convention, April 10th, 
1775, for the purpose of choosing delegates to the first 
Continental congress, was John Vanderbilt, who from his 
being subsequently a member of the Senate of the State, 


























was called Senator John, to distinguish him from Judge 
John Vanderbilt. Among the delegates chosen by this 
convention, to represent this county in that congress, 
were no less than three from this town, viz: Johannes 
Lott, John Lefferts, and John Vanderbilt. These dele- 
gates convened at New- York, on the 22d, of May, 1775, 
and continued to meet at different places, from time to 
time, till the adoption of the Constitution of the State, in 
April, 1777. John Lefferts of this town, was also a mem- 
ber of the Provential Congress, from this county, which 
met on the 30th, day of June, 1776. His son Peter 
Lefferts, whose widow still survives, was one of the two 
delegates from this county, to the convention which met 
at Poughkeepsie, on the 27th, day of June, 1778, to adopt 
the constitution of the United States. He was subse- 
quently also a member of the Senate of this State, in 
which he appeared in a suit made entirely of homespun 
cloth, but of so fine a texture and finish, that it attracted 
special notice. His son, John Lefferts, whose widow is 
still spared to us, was a member of Congress, from this 
district, and also a delegate to the convention of 1821, 
which met for amending the constitution of the State. 

Several persons have been selected from this town to 
represent the county of Kings, in the Assembly of the 
State, since the Revolution. 

In 1784 Johannes E. Lott, 

" 1785-6 John Vanderbilt, 

" 1787-8 Cornelius Wyckoff, 

" 1789-91 Aquila Giles, 

" 1793 Aquila Giles, 

" 1802 John C. Vanderveer, 

" 1811 to 1813 John C. Vanderveer, 
" 1814 Jeremiah Lott, 


In 1815 Teunis Schenck, 

" 1816 & 1817 Eichard Fish, 

" 1819 & 1820 Teunis Schenck, 

" 1821 & 1822 Jeremiah Lott, 

" 1829 John Wyckoff, 

" 1839 Jeremiah Lott, 

" 1842 John A. Lott. 

Statement of the population of the Town of Flatbush, 
including New-Lots, from the year 1810, to the year 
1840, inclusive. 















Statement of the aggregate valuations of real and per- 
sonal estates, in the Town of Flatbush, including New- 
Lots, as revised and corrected by the Board of Supervis- 
ors of the county of Kings, from the year 1817, to 1841, 


Real Estate. 

Personal Estate. 

Agg't Valuation. 






































































































Thus have we sketched some of the leading facts, re- 
lating to the civil history of the town of Flatbush. We 
cannot but mark the good hand of providence in all. He 
has favored the spot with health ; rendered its soil fertile ; 
and prospered its inhabitants. The latter have steadily 
pursued the even tenor of their way, and while they have 
enjoyed liberally the gifts of a benificent providence, 
have advanced in wealth and solid comforts. While in 
other sections of our country, the lands possessed by the 
original proprietors, have passed from their descendants; 
here, but few farms comparatively, have changed hands; 
the spirit of roving not having been cherished. Most of 
the farms are still in the possession of the descendants of 

the first patentees and proprietors. Numerous families 
in the town too, can trace back their genealogy to the 
early settlement of the place. May they continue to emu- 
late the virtues of their fathers, and go on in the enjoy- 
ment of the good land which God has given them, thank- 
ing Him, that " the lines have fallen to them in pleasant 
places, and that they enjoy so goodly a heritage." 


In commencing the Ecclesiastical History of Flatbush, 
it is proper to premise, that as all the early settlers of this 
and the neighboring- towns, came from Holland, they were 
united in one religious faith. They all professed the doc- 
trines, and order, which were established by the national 
Synod, which met at Dordrecht, in the year 1618-19. 
This Synod was summoned by the authority of the Staats 
General of Holland, and was attended by the most emi- 
nent divines of the United Provinces, and deputies from 
the reformed churches of England, Scotland, Switzerland, 
Bremen and other places. Seldom, if ever, has a more 
learned, pious and venerable assembly convened. The 
early-inhabitants of the west end of Long Island, received 
as the symbols of their faith, the Belgic Confession, the 
Heidleburgh Catechism, and the Canons of this Synod. 
But as there was no ecclesiastical organization in this 
country, at that time, they were placed under the over- 
sight and authority of the Classis of Amsterdam, to 
whom the interests of all the Dutch and German churches 
in America were confided. A standing committee was 
appointed by this Classis, called the committee ad exteras 
and sometimes ad res maritimas to whom the affairs of 
these churches were referred, during the intervals of ses- 
sion by the Classis. This committee managed all the 
correspondence with these churches, provided them with 
ministers, and gave them such counsel as they needed. 


This arrangement continued until the year 1772, when 
the organization of the present Reformed Dutch Church, 
in this country took place, and independent Classes and 
Synods were established, on the model of the church in 
Holland. On Long-Island, each town had its own con- 
sistory, or bench of church officers; but all the churches 
in Kings county were combined, and constituted one 
charge, for the period of about one hundred and fifty 
years. Their ministers were colleagues; preached in turn 
in all the churches, and drew their salaries in certain 
fixed proportions from the several congregations. The 
place of their residence was Flatbush. 

Reformed Dutch Church of Flatbush. 

Although it is known that the inhabitants of Long- 
Island had among them the ordinances of the gospel at a 
very early date, yet the first account of building a church, 
is not till the year 1654. On the 15th of December, of 
that year, Governor Stuyvesant issued an order appoint- 
ing the Rev. Mr. Megapolensis, who was one of the 
ministers of New- Amsterdam ; John Snedicor and John 
Stryker, commissioners to build a church at Midwout. 
On the 13th of October, in the same year, it appears that 
an order was passed by the Governor, who seems to have 
exercised a controlling power in ecclesiastical as well as 
civil and military affairs, permitting the Rev. Johannes 
Theodorus Polhemus, a minister of the Reformed Church 
of Holland, to preach at Midwout and Amersfort, (or 
Flatlands.) The spot selected for the building of the 
church, was the site now occupied by the present build- 
ing. The order of the Governor, directed that it should 
be sixty, or sixty-five feet long, twenty-eight feet broad, 
and from twelve to fourteen feet under the beams; that 


it should be built in the form of a cross, and that the rear 
should be reserved for the ministers dwelling. It is most 
probable that this building, which was the first church 
erected in the county, was of wood, and that it was com- 
menced, if not completed, in the succeeding year. For on 
the 9th of February, 1655, the Governor ordered the in- 
habitants of Brooklyn and Amersfort, which were then 
connected together, with Flatbush, as one pastoral charge, 
and continued so for a number of years, to assist the peo- 
ple of Midwout in cutting timber to build their house of 
worship. The entries in the Deacons book of the church 
of Flatbush, of collections taken up on the Sabbath com- 
mence on the first Sabbath of January, 1655, and these 
entries are regularly continued, at intervals of seven days, 
from that time forward. From this, it is evident that di- 
vine service was statedly performed on every Sabbath 
after that period, in Flatbush. How long previously to 
this time this was the case, cannot be ascertained. !N"or 
is there any record by which it can be known, when the 
first Consistory was ordained and the church organized. 
But it appears from subsequent minutes, that until the 
year 1681, the Consistory consisted of only two Elders 
and two Deacons. 

In September, 1660, those who had the charge of erect- 
ing the building, reported that it had cost 4,637 guild- 
ers, or about $1,800. Of this sum, a very considerable 
amount was collected by voluntary subscription, in New- 
Amsterdam, Fort Orange, (now Albany,) and in the dif- 
ferent settlements on Long-Island. An account of these 
several subscriptions, is still preserved in the records of 
the Eeformed Dutch Church of Flatbush. It is as 
follows : — 






















" To the building received." 
From Fort Orange, 


New- Amsterdam, 






E. (India probably,) Company, 

the first preaching, (collection 

The Hon. Fiscal, or Attorney 

Also, in addition. 

Marriage fees, 

Hempstead, by bequest. 
To aid in liquidating the debt which still remained upon 
the building, the Governor himself, contributed 400 guild- 
ers, leaving still a balance of 800 against the church. 

From the Dutch Records in the office of the Secretary 
of State at Albany, we gather the following facts. " On 
the 6th, of August, 1655, the Governor ordered the Sheriff, 
to convene the inhabitants of Brooklyn, Flatbush and 
Flatlands, for the purpose of inquiring whether they 
were satisfied with their minister, and if they were sat- 
isfied, what sallary they would pay him. The Sheriff 
reported, that they approved of their minister, and would 
pay him a sum equal to $416.66 per year. This was ap- 
proved as a good call, and accepted." The minister 
concerning whom this order was made, was the Rev. Jo- 
hannes Theodorus Polhemus, who was the first Pastor of 
these churches. "February, 8th, 1656, the above towns 
applied to the Governor for an order to raise money by a 


tax, to pay their minister, Granted." "December, 20th, 
1659, the E-ev. J. Polhemus represented to the Governor 
that his church wanted painting, to preserve it, and re- 
quested assistance from the Governor. Reply, — this re- 
quest shall be transmitted to the directors by the first 
opportunity." " September 18th, 1660, the minister peti- 
tioned for windows for his church, Ordered that one 
window be furnished him." 

It having been reported, that the church was indebted 
to the amount of 624 guilders, it was ordered to be sat- 
isfied out of the treasury, as soon as funds should be re- 
ceived. On the 15th of March, 1656, an ordinance was 
passed by the Governor, on petition, regulating the times 
and places of public worship on the sabbath. It was 
directed that the morning service for Brooklyn, Flatbush 
and Flatlands, should be held at Midwout, or Flatbush, 
and the afternoon service alternately, at Brooklyn and 
Flatlands. The first church at Flatlands was ordered to 
be erected in the year 1662, and that at Brooklyn, in the 
year 1666. The Rev. Mr. Polhemus the first pastor, was 
at this time quite advanced in life, and unable to perform 
the services appertaining to so extended a charge. In con- 
sequence of this, on application to Governor Stuyvesant, 
permission was granted to the church of Brooklyn, to call 
another minister. A request to this effect was sent to 
Holland, and on the 16th, of February, 1660, a call upon 
the Rev. Henry Solyns, or Henricus Selwyn, was approved 
by the Classis of Amsterdam, and an honorable dismis- 
sion given to Mr. Solyns, wishing him a safe and prosper- 
ous journey by land, and by water, to his congregation, 
in the New-Netherlands. He was installed in the church 
at Brooklyn, on the 3d, of September, 1660, in the pres- 
ence of the Fiscal and Burgomaster Krigier, by the order 


of Governor Stuyvesant. His salary was six hundred 
guilders per annum, equal to a little rising two hundred 

Although nothing certainly is known of the services of 
Mr. Solyns, in Flatbush, it is probable, from the infirmities 
of Mr. Polhemus, and the friendship which existed between 
them, that occasionally, at least, he must have preached 
in Flatbush; although he was regarded as more especially 
the minister of the church of Brooklyn, and received as 
such, from the Rev. J. Polhemus, on the 12th, of Septem- 
ber, 1660, a list of his members, containing thirty-seven 
names. Mr. Solyns was a man of more than ordinary tal- 
ents and learning. This was soon discovered, and in the 
year 1662, an arrangement was made, by which he 
preached at the Governor's house, on his " Bowerie," or 
Farm, on Sunday afternoons. His ministry at this time, 
in this country however, was of short continuance ; for on 
the 22d, of July, 1664, he took leave of his congregation, 
and sailed in the ship Beaver, for Holland. He subse- 
quently returned to this country, and was pastor of the 
Dutch church, in New- York, from 1682, to 1700. He was 
a man of classical taste and learning, and highly esteemed 
in his day. He prefixed a Latin poem to Cotton Mather's 
" Magnalia Christi Americana," bearing date, October, 
16th, 1697. 

After the departure of Mr. Solyns, the churches were 
left to such ser^dces as the Rev. Mr. Polhemus, in his old 
age could confer upon them. He appears however to 
have been assisted at this period by the Rev. Johannes 
Megapolensis, one of the ministers of the city of New- 
Amsterdam. This arrangement continued till the year 
1676, on the 8th, of June, in which year, Mr. Polhemus 
died. Application was then made to the Classis of Am- 


sterdam, for another minister, by whom the Eev. Casparus 
Van Zuren who had been settled at Gouderack, was sent 
out. He was installed on the 6th, of September, 1677. It 
is probable, that about this time, the church of New- 
Utrecht was organized, and received into the combination : 
for the first election of Elders and Deacons in this church, 
took place in the month of October, 1677. The record in 
the hand writing of the Eev. Mr. Van Zuren, under date 
1677, which gives the account of the change of Elders 
and Deacons in the several churches of Brooklyn, Amers- 
fort, Elatbush and ISTew-Utrecht contains the following 
minute relative to the last named church "At New- 
Utrecht, while there has never heretofore been an election 
of Elders and Deacons, the assembled congregation have 
now chosen for Elders Jan Gysbertse and Mainderd 
Courtes; for deacons, Auris Williamse Brower and Jan 
Hanse, and this has all taken place in the beginning of 
October, and they have been ordained about the same time 
and at the same place." 

In the year 1681, the Consistory of the church of Elat- 
bush was enlarged, by the addition of one Elder and one 
Deacon, chosen from among the members at New-Lots. 
None of the consistories of the churches on the island as 
yet, consisted of more than two Elders and two Deacons, 
and this appears to have been the case for some years sub- 
sequent to this period, with the exception of the church of 
Flatbush. The minute relative to the enlargement of the 
Consistory of the church of Flatbush is as follows : 

" N. B. In consequence of the increase of the com- 
municants and housekeepers, at Oostwoud, together with 
that of the children (where for the instruction and edifi- 
cation of the young and aged, a schoolmaster is required.) 
It is unanimously ordained and approved of by the Hon- 
orable Consistory of Midwoud, that at Oostwoud, under 


the jurisdiction of Midwoud, there ought to be chosen an 
Elder and a Deacon, who shall be members of the Con- 
sistory of Midwoud, to have the oversight of the members 
of Oostwoud, in particular and over those of Midwoud in 
general, and in matters of importance, whenever the mem- 
bers of the Consistory are assembled, they must always be 
requested to meet with them to obtain their advice as well 
as that of others. And to that end, are chosen for Elder, 
William Jacobse Van Boerum; for Deacon, Rem Rem- 
sen. Concluded in Consistory of Midwoud, on the 6th of 
January, 1681. The above elected persons having been 
several times proclaimed, were ordained at Midwoud, on 
the 30th, of January." 

Little is known with regard to the Rev. Mr. Van Zu- 
ren's ministry or character. He appears to have been a 
man of great industry and system. He has left the most 
copious minutes of the services which he performed. In 
addition to the lists of the members of the churches, and 
the records of baptisms and marriages, he has noted the 
times and places of administering the Lord's Supper, to- 
gether with the texts of scripture from which he preached, 
and the election of new Elders and Deacons in the sev- 
eral churches in each year, together with the time of their 
induction into their respective offices. His record of bap- 
tisms commences on the 16th of September, 1677, and of 
marriages on the 29th of September, 1677. He continued 
to serve these congregations till the year 1685, when he 
received a call from his former church in Holland, and 
returned to his native land. He was succeeded by the 
Rev. Rudolphus Varick in the same year. He continued 
till the year 1694, when the Rev. Wilhemus Lupandus 
was called, who officiated until the time of his death, 
which occurred in the year 1701 or 2. Of these two gen- 
tlemen nothing now is known. 


In tlie year 1698, a subscription was taken up for the 
purpose of erecting a new church. This subscription, 
which was confined to the inhabitants of the old town and 
New-Lots, amounts to 15,728 guilders and 5 stivers, which 
reckoning a guilder at forty cents, is equal to $6,291.20. 
The precise time at which the church was built, is not 
known; but it was no doubt during that year or the 
one that succeeded. The committee to whom the erec- 
tion of the church was entrusted, were. Captain Daniel 
Polhemus, Captain Aries Vanderbilt, Adrian Kyers, Kem 
Eemsen, and Kem Aertson. This building, which was lo- 
cated on the spot on which the first church stood, was a 
stone edifice, fronting the east, with a large arched 
double door in the centre, having a steep four-sided roof 
coming nearly together at the top, on which was erected 
a small steeple. The building was wider in front than in 
depth, being about sixty-five north and south, and about 
fifty feet east and west. The roof rested on the walls, 
and was partly supported by them, and partly by two large 
oak columns, standing in a line within the building, in a 
northerly and southerly direction, and at a suitable dis- 
tance from each other. The two columns supported a plate 
in the centre of a lofty arched planked ceiling, the north 
and south ends of which, rested on the wall, in conse- 
quence of which, the north and south walls of the build- 
ing were considerable higher than those of the east and 
west. There were two large and broad braces extending 
from each colunm to the plate. The roof appeared to be 
badly constructed. Its pressure on the walls was so great, 
that in process of time, the upper part of the north- 
erly wall was pressed out more than a foot over the foun- 
dation, and the four braces attached to the columns within 
the building, were considerably bent from the weight and 


pressure above. The pulpit was placed in the centre of 
the west side of the building, fronting the door, having 
the Elders bench on the right, and the Deacons bench on 
the left. The male part of the congregation were seated in 
a continuous pew, all along the wall, which was divided 
into twenty apartments, with a sufficient number of doors 
for entrance: each person having one or more seats, in 
one or the other of these apartments. The residue of the 
interior of the building, was for the accommodation of 
the female part of the congregation, who were seated on 
chairs. These were arranged into seven different rows, or 
blocks, and every family had one or more chairs in some 
one of these blocks. This interior arrangement of the 
seats, was called by the significant Dutch term " De Ges- 
toeltens." Each chair was marked on the back by a num- 
ber, or by the name of the family or person to whom it 
belonged. The windows of this church were formed of 
small panes of glass ; and those on either side of the pul- 
pit, were painted, or ornamented and set in lead. 

It is probable that about the year 1698, when the first 
church was pulled down, in which as we have seen, there 
was accommodation for the minister and his family, the 
first parsonage house was built. This is the south part of 
the present building now occupied by L. L. Van Kleeck, 
Esq. which has undergone so many important improve- 
ments under his hands. 

About the time of the building of this second church, 
a certain paper was drawn up and adopted, entitled 
" Articles, Laws and Ordinances, by which the church of 
Flatbush shall be governed and occupied, by the in- 
habitants and builders." This document contains certain 
provisions: — 1st. Concerning the occupancy and posses- 
sion of the seats. 2d. Concerning the tenure of the seats 


whenever tlie owners remove; and 3d. Concerning inter- 
ments in the church. These provisions are all wise and 
prudent, but some of them appear at the present day 
somewhat curious. We shall only extract from this docu- 
ment, the articles concerning " interments in the church." 
They are as follows: — 

" 1. Those who are inclined to be interred within the 
church, are required to pay for an adult corps of sixteen 
years and upwards, £4; for a corps under sixteen years, 
to six years of age, £3 ; and for a child of six years and 
under, £2; and this shall be paid to the Church Masters, 
for the profit of the church. 

" 2. Those who are inclined to be permitted to be in- 
terred in the church, are required to pay the expense of 
every person: for a corps of sixteen years and upwards, 
the sum of 27 guilders : for one under sixteen years to six 
years, 22 guilders: for a child of six years and under, 19 
guilders, for the profit of the schoolmaster, for the time 
being, who shall be required to see that the graves are to 
be dug so deep that two coffins can be placed therein, one 
above the other, and that the grave for the under coffin is 
seven feet deep, and that he shall remove all dirt out of 
the church." 

From this time, the practice of burying under the body 
of the church, became quite general. All the ministers 
who died after this date, (1701,) during the standing of 
that church, were interred under the building; and this 
indeed was the case with all whose friends could afford to 
pay the extra expense connected with this privilege; and 
this accounts for the fact, that the grave yard now con- 
tains so few tomb stones of ancient date. Vast numbers 
of human bones were dug up when the earth was removed 
for the foundation of the steeple to the present church. 


These were all carefully preserved, and subsequently 
again buried. In front of the church, and under it have 
been interred the bodies of nearly three or four genera- 

At the time of the building of this church, the Rev. W. 
Lupardus, was pastor. After his death, which occurred 
towards the close of the year 1701, or in the commence- 
ment of the year 1702, the congregations of the county 
made an effort to call the Rev. Bernardus Freeman, then 
pastor of the Reformed Dutch Church of Schenectady. 
Three men were chosen in each of the four towns, of 
Flatbush, Brooklyn, Flatlands and New-Utrecht, for the 
purpose of prosecuting this call, in accordance with the 
provisions of the government, which then exercised con- 
trol over the church. An application was made to Lord 
Cornbury, the then. Governor of the Colony, for permis- 
sion to call Mr. Freeman. This request was, on the 23d 
of October, 1702, denied by the Governor; and the four 
congregations were directed to send to Holland for a min- 
ister, in conformity with their previous custom. It would 
appear that another effort was made to obtain the Rev. 
Mr. Freeman, in the year 1703. On the 27th of April, in 
that year. Lord Cornbury, issued a warrant granting full 
liberty to call Mr. Freeman. The congregation of 
Schenectady, however, remonstrated against the proceed- 
ing, and sent a petition to Governor Cornbury, requesting 
that the calling of Mr. Freeman should be interdicted. 
But this petition was denied by Lord Cornbury in an or- 
der issued by him bearing date June 24th, 1703. A call 
was accordingly presented to the Rev. Mr. Freeman, who 
in a letter dated August 2d, 1703, consents to accept the 
same, provided certain conditions which he names are 
complied with. On the 19th of August, 1703, these con- 


ditions were acceded to by the congregation of Flatbush. 
Previously however to this, it would appear that certain 
difficulties had arisen relative to this matter. Some, if 
not all, the persons who had been deputed from the sev- 
eral congregations to call the Rev. Mr. Freeman, for some 
cause which does not appear, became disaffected towards 
him. In consequence of this, they did not comply with 
the instructions which they had received — but not only 
neglected to answer the letter of Mr. Freeman, informing 
him that the congregation had complied with his stipula- 
tions, but addressed a letter to the Consistory of Schenec- 
tady, stating that the most part of the congregation were 
in favor of sending to Holland for a minister— but that 
only some " stiff heads," as they term them, had enjoined 
them to make a call upon Dom. Freeman. Eventually, Mr. 
Freeman visited the island himself, and having ascertained 
the true state of things, consented to accept the call. The 
matter, however, appears to have been in agitation for 
more than two years before he came. For he was not 
installed until the year 1705. This took place by procla- 
mation of the Governor, in the church at New-Utrecht, in 
November of that year. The service was performed on 
the occasion, by the Rev. Mr. Dubois. In the mean time, 
however, the disaffected persons wrote a letter to the 
Classis of Amsterdam, bearing date, December 10th, 1703, 
requesting that a minister should be sent out to these 
churches from Holland. This letter was received by the 
Classis of Amsterdam, on the 2d, June, 1704, and on the 
6th, of October, 1704, they commissioned the Rev. Yin- 
centius Antonides, to proceed to America, for the purpose 
of becoming the pastor of the church of Flatbush, and of 
the Dutch churches adjoining. He was at the time pastor 
of the church of Bergen, in Friesland. In their letter to 


the churches, the Classis of Amsterdam, speak of him as 
a man of great learning, and of fine talents. He arrived 
in this country, and in connection with the Rev. Mr. Free- 
man, entered upon his duties in the year 1705. But a very 
unhappy controversy, which had its origin previously to 
his arrival, continued to agitate the churches. We need 
not enter into the particulars of it. It is sufficient to 
state that the contest was so warm between the friends of 
these respective ministers, that the civil authority had to 
interfere, and one or two orders were passed on the sub- 
ject, by Lord Cornbury, the Governor. Some of these are 
curious, as exhibiting the powers which the Governor and 
his council exercised in the affairs of the church. These 
differences continued to agitate these several congrega- 
tions, until the year 1714, when they were harmoniously 
reconciled. On the 27th, of December, in that year, a 
meeting was held in Flatbush, composed of delegates from 
the churches of Flatbush, Brooklyn, Flatlands, New- 
TJtrecht, Bushwick and New-Jamaica, (as it is called in 
the document which gives the account of this meeting,) 
or the Reformed Dutch congregation of Queens County, 
which was then about being organized, and was supplied 
by the ministers from this county. This meeting was as- 
sembled in good friendship, as they state in the pream- 
ble to their transactions. They all agreed to lay aside 
their differences, and to receive the Rev. Messrs. Free- 
man and Antonides, as their pastors and teachers. They 
fixed the proportion of salary, to be raised by the several 
churches for their support, and the times and places of 
administering the Lord's Supper and of preaching. In 
regard to the communion, it was agreed, that Bushwick, 
Brooklyn and Flatbush, should commune together; Flat- 
lands, Gravesend and New-Utrecht, together ; and the con- 


gregation of Queens County, should form another com- 
munion. In regard to preaching, it was agreed, that one 
minister should preach on one Sabbath in Bushwick, and 
the other in New-Utrecht; that on the next Sabbath, one 
in Brooklyn, and the other in Flatlands; and the third 
Sabbath, one in Flatbush and the other in Jamaica, and 
thus on in regular rotation. From this time forth, for a 
number of years the churches enjoyed peace. 

The unhappy controversy to which we have alluded, 
was, by Him, who causes the wrath of man to praise 
Him, overruled for good. For, from that time forward, 
the churches of the county enjoyed the services of two 
ministers of the gospel who in addition to their pulpit 
exercises, performed all the usual parochial duties; such 
as visiting the sick, catechising the youth, pastoral visita- 
tion of families, and the like. All of which, had hereto- 
fore been attended to by one individual, who from the 
extent of the charge, could not possibly have rendered all 
the services which were needful and proper. 

To accommodate these pastors, it became necessary to 
provide another parsonage. Accordingly, in the year 
1711, the congregations purchased of Johannes Johnson, 
the house owned by Mr. John H. Hess, and recently 
occupied by Mr. Michael Schoonmaker. Deeds for this 
property, in proportion to their several rights were given 
to the respective Dutch congregations in the county; this 
church being entitled to the fourth equal part. This 
building was used as a parsonage, until the year 1809, 
when it was sold, an account of which will be subse- 
quently given. In this and the other parsonage adjoining 
the church, the Eev. Mr. Freeman, and the Rev. Mr. An- 
tonides were accommodated, but we are not able to tell in 
which house they severally resided. 


Both these ministers appear to have been men of more 
than ordinary acquirements and talent. The Eev. Mr. 
Freeman, was a very learned divine. He wrote and pub- 
lished several works. Among others, one entitled, " Trial 
of Grace," or the " Ballance," containing a series of 
sermons ; and another, entitled, " Apothems," which has 
been translated from the original Dutch, by General Jere- 
miah Johnson. The latter work discovers a vast amount 
of learning, and a mind of the deepest research. It is a 
treasure of truth. 

In the year 1737, a meeting of ministers was held in 
New- York, for the purpose of taking measures to organize 
a Csetus or Assembly of Ministers and Elders, subordinate 
to the Classis of Amsterdam, with powers somewhat sim- 
ilar to those now exercised by the Classes of the Reformed 
Dutch Church, in this country. At this meeting the Rev. 
Mr. Freeman attended, on behalf of the churches on 
Long-Island. A plan was adopted for the organization 
of such a body, and was submitted to the churches, for 
their approbation. On the 27th, of April, 1738, the meet- 
ing again convened, in the city of New- York, for the 
purpose of hearing the reports on this subject. At this 
meeting the churches on Long-Island were represented by 
the Rev. Mr. Freeman, and the Elders Peter Nevius and 
Dirk Brinkerhoff. The plan having been approved by the 
churches generally, it was now ratified and adopted, and 
immediately sent over to the Classis of Amsterdam, for 
their approval. But for some cause not known, the ap- 
probation of the Classis did not reach this country until 
the year 1746. It was brought over by the Rev. Mr. Van 
Sinderen, of whom we shall presently speak. 

Mr. Freeman died in the year 1741. He was succeeded 
by the Rev. Johannes Arondeus, in the year 1742, who 


was the colleague of the Eev. V. Antonides till the year 
1744, when the latter died. 

On the death of Eev. Mr. Antonides, the Kev. Ulpianus 
Van Sinderen was called. He came from Holland, and 
entered upon his duties, in 1746, and continued to serve 
the congregation in connection with the Eev. Mr. Aron- 
deus until the year 1754, when Mr. Arondeus was called 
to his final account. 

Mr. Van Sinderen was the hearer of the letter from the 
Classis of Amsterdam, containing their approbation of 
the plan of the Csetus which had been agreed upon in the 
meeting, held in New- York, in the year 1738. Shortly 
after his arrival in this country, a meeting was called to 
receive this letter. This meeting was held in the city of 
New- York, in the month of May, 1747. The Eev. Mr. 
Van Sinderen, is named first among the six ministers who 
attended this meeting. Little more was done at this time 
than receive the letter of concurrence in the plan from the 
Classis of Amsterdam, and appoint the second Tuesday of 
the following September, for the meeting of the first 
Caetus, to be held in the city of New- York, under this new 
plan. On that day, the representatives of the churches 
met in Caetus, and organized the first judicatory (if it 
can be so called) higher than a consistory, that was es- 
tablished in the Dutch Church in America. The Eev. 
Mr. Van Sinderen attended as a member of this body. 
The plan was however opposed by several ministers, and 
churches, and eventually gave rise to very serious trou- 
bles, which it would be inappropriate here to narrate in 

Mr. Van Sinderen, though a man of talents, was quite 
eccentric in his manners. He was short in stature, but 
very active. 


Tlunigh endowed with learning, he appears to have 
been detieient in sound judgment. He was too much in 
the habit of introducing the occurrences of the week pre- 
vious in his sermons, on the Sabbath, and often would al- 
lude to very trifling circumstances. Some amusing an- 
ecdotes, are told of him, relating to this practice. On one 
occasion, a good old Elder, who had borne with the Do- 
minie in this particular, till his patience was exhausted, 
very injudiciously, under the excitement of his feelings, 
rose in his seat, during divine service, and interrupted 
Mr. Van Sinderen, by saying, they had called him to 
preach the gospel, and not to detail to them such matters. 
The Dominie, indignant at being iBtopped in his discourse, 
leaned over the pulpit, and replied, " You, Philip Nagle, 
if you can preach the gospel better than I can, come up 
here and try." 

After the death of the Rev. Mr. Arondeus, the Rev. 
Anthony Curtenius was called. He commenced his min- 
istry in this i^lace in the year 1755. But in the succeed- 
ing year, on the 19th, of October, he died, being in his 
58th, year. 

About this time, or probably, a little while before, this 
church was greatly agitated, in common with the whole 
Reformed Dutch denomination, with what was called the 
Csetus and Conferentie differences. This was a contest 
which excited great warmth. It related principally to the 
question of the right of ordination, and the exercise of 
church authority. The Csetus party contended that in con- 
sequence of the inconvenience of sending to Holland for 
ministers, and the increase of the churches in this coun- 
try, it should be exercised by the ministers of the church, 
already in America, and that for this purpose, there 
should be a regular organization of the churches into 


Classes, and Synods, as was the case in Holland, to whom 
should appertain all the rights and privileges belonging 
to such ecclesiastical bodies, in the mother country. The 
Conferentie party, on the other hand, maintained that all 
ministers should be ordained in Holland, and sent forth 
under the authority of the Classis of Amsterdam, or by 
their permission. The controversy was a very unhappy 
one, and continued to trouble the churches until the year 
1772. This congregation was not exempt from the gen- 
eral difficulties. So divided and embittered against each 
other were many on this subject, that the different par- 
ties would not worship together, nor even speak to each 
other. Sometimes they would not turn out when they met 
on the road. On one occasion, it is said that two of these 
redoubtable opponents belonging to Flatbush, meeting 
each other in their waggons, and both refusing to give 
the road, they each deliberately took out their pipes, and 
began to smoke! How long they continued at this very 
pacific employment is not stated, nor is it said whether 
the difficulty between them was lost sight of by the cloud 
of smoke obscuring their vision, or whether their pipes 
were ever turned into the calumet of peace. 

In August, 1759, the Kev. Johannes Casparus Kubel, 
was called, who continued as colleague with the Rev. Mr. 
Van Sinderen, until the year of his death. 

The old or second church, which we have above de- 
scribed, continued without material change until about 
two years previous to the war of the American Revolution, 
when it was thought necessary to remodel or improve the 
seats, by introducing pews. Consequently, on the 6th of 
October, 1774, the church masters prepared a subscription 
paper, detailing the plan by which this desirable object 
should be accomplished. This paper was signed by every 


male adult person of the congregation who had an interest 
in the church. This document exhibits in a striking man- 
ner, the wisdom, foresight, sound discretion and piety of 
the men of that day. In this too, as well as in almost every 
other public ecclesiastical document, they refer to the ar- 
ticles of their faith, as established in the National Synod 
of Dordrecht, in the year 1618, 1619. The assent of the 
whole congregation having been thus prudently obtained, 
they commenced in the year 1775 to remodel the seats. 
The chairs were removed, and sixty-four pews, containing 
six seats each, were introduced. The work having been 
completed on the 28th, day of September, in the same 
year, the pews were drawn for, by the members of the con- 
gregation, and assigned to the respective owners by lot, 
and a record of the same accordingly made. The expense 
incurred by this improvement, amounted to £290.16.9. or 
$727.09, of which sum, the respective pew holders paid 
£190.4.6. equal to $475.56. John Bennan, Thomas Lane, 
Isaac Martense, Adrian Martense and Vincent Antonides, 
were the carpenters who performed the work, and the 
painting was done by William Post. There were two gal- 
leries along the easterly side of the church, divided by the 
door; the one was occupied by the whites, and the other 
by coloured persons. The benches below, under these gal- 
leries were free, and usually occupied by non-residents. 
On each side of the church were two windows, and one 
upper window in each of the ends, at the north and south. 
These were all provided with shutters. The bell rope hung 
down in the centre of the church, was easy of access, and 
often used to give alarms, during the revolutionary war. 
Here were two benches with backs, one called the " Ye- 
f rows Bench," and the other the " Blue Bench." The for- 
mer, was for the accommodation of the minister's wife and 


family and the other was let out to other individuals, and 
from its position, was regarded as an honorable seat. 
Boards on which the first Psalm to be sung was noted, were 
hung upon the walls of the church, for the benefit of such 
as were not present when it was announced. The Dea- 
cons were furnished with long rods, at the ends of which, 
were velvet bags, in which to take up the collection, and 
they usually stood for a few moments with their poles in 
their hands in front of the pulpit, till the minister briefly 
reminded the congregation of their duty to the poor. 

The Rev. Messrs. Van Sinderen and Rubel, continued 
to officiate in the church, until the close of the revolu- 
tionary war, in 1783. With regard to these individuals, 
several unpleasant difficulties arose in the five congrega- 
tions of the county, who were under their pastoral charge, 
— and as their residence, as that of all the previous min- 
isters had been, was at Flatbush, the inhabitants of this 
town took a warm and active interest in these differences. 
The particulars of these, it would not be edifying to re- 
late. In regard to politics, which during the revolution- 
ary struggle, was a matter of deep interest; the Rev. Mr. 
Van Sinderen appears to have been in favor of the Ameri- 
can cause, and the Rev. Mr. Rubel, strongly opposed to 
it. On a fast day which was ordered to be kept by the 
Provincial Congress, the latter preached in Flatbush, 
from the text, " honor the king ; " when among other 
things, he said, " people could do as well without a head 
as without a king." This gave great offence to those who 
were in favor of throwing off the British yoke. 

At the close of the war, in June 1784, at the request of 
the united Consistory, the Rev. Mr. Van Sinderen re- 
signed his charge, and on the 12th of July, in the same 
year, was declared Emeritus and a certain salary voted to 


him as such, which was regularly paid him, until the day 
of his death, which occurred on the 23d of July, 1796. 
He was interred in the grave yard at Flatlands, to which 
place he had removed some few years previously. The 
Rev. Mr. Ruble, was for certain causes, which it is not 
necessary to mention, deposed from the office of the sa- 
cred ministry, by the Synod of the Reformed Dutch 
Church, in the early part of the year 1784. He remained 
under this censure, till the time of his death, which took 
place in 1799. His remains lie interred in the public 
cemetery of the Reformed Dutch Church of Flatbush. 

In the year 1785, a call was made on the Rev. Marti- 
nus Schoonmaker, then officiating at Gravesend and Har- 
leam. He having accepted the call, the congregation of 
Gravesend was admitted formally into the combination. 
On the 28th of October, 1787, the Rev. Peter Lowe, 
a native of Ulster County, who had completed his theo- 
logical studies under the Rev. Dr. Livingston, was in- 
stalled colleague pastor with Mr. Schoonmaker. These 
two continued to preach alternately in the old church, 
until it was taken down, in the year 1794. All the ser- 
vices of the above named ministers, were performed in 
the Dutch language, until the 10th of April, 1792, when 
it was resolved that the service in the afternoon, in the 
congregations of Brooklyn, Flatbush and New-Utrecht, 
should be held in the English language, on such days as 
the Rev. Mr. Lowe should preach in those places. 

In the year 1785, the church became incorporated. As 
this introduced an important change in the management 
of the fiscal concerns, it may be proper here to pre- 
sent the following statement, of the manner in which the 
temporalities of the church had been previously admin- 
istered, and the steps taken to obtain the incorporation. 


The landed estate and general financial interests of the 
Church of Flatbush, from the time of its organization, 
were entrusted to the care and management of Church 
Masters, similar to the mode and usage practised by the 
Reformed churches in Holland. The Church Masters 
were three in number, elected by the " Gemeente," or as- 
sembled congregation, out of the Consistory, and held 
their offices for two years, corresponding with the oflScial 
term of the Elders and Deacons. When the Church 
Masters were first chosen, they were divided into two 
classes, and the seat of the member of the first class be- 
came vacant at the expiration of the first year, and the 
seats of the two members of the second class, at the ex- 
piration of the second year, so that thereafter, one or the 
other members of each class might be annually chosen. 
They were required to render an annual statement of 
their receipts and expenditures, and the correctness of the 
accounts of the retiring Church Master, or Church Mas- 
ters, as the case might be, was always certified on the 
church books. The temporalities belonging to the church, 
and consisting of real and personal estate, appear to have 
been prudently and judiciously managed and preserved 
by the Church Masters thus chosen, down to the close of 
the year, 1784, a period of nearly one hundred and seventy 
years. The last Church Masters, were John Yanderbilt, 
Isaac Snediker and Johannes E. Lott, whose accounts 
were examined by the Trustees of the church, and by 
them found satisfactory: whereupon the following cer- 
tificate was entered upon the church books. " John Van- 
derbilt, Isaac Snediker and Johannes E, Lott, Church 
Masters, having come together, and rendered an account 
of their receipts and expenditures to the Trustees who are 
chosen in their place, and the Church Masters have been 


found faithful in their trust, are thanked by us, the 
underwritten Trustees, for their services." 

On the 6th day of April, in the year 1784, the Legis- 
lature of the State of New- York, passed an Act, entitled 
"An Act to enable all religious denominations in this 
State, to appoint Trustees, who should be a Body Corpo- 
rate, for the purpose of taking care of the temporalities 
of their respective congregations, and for other purposes 
therein mentioned." As the revolutionary war was now 
just closed, and peace again restored, the inhabitants of 
the town of Flatbush, at once saw the advantages which 
their church might derive from this Act authorizing the 
incorporation of religious societies. Accordingly, on Sun- 
day the 26th day of December, 1784, public notice was 
given by the Rev. Martinus Schoonmaker, the minister of 
the church, by a publication therein, immediately after 
divine service, and before the congregation was dismissed, 
notifying all male persons who statedly worshiped in the 
said church, to meet therein, on the 17th day of January, 
then next ensuing, at one o'clock in the afternoon of the 
same day, for the purpose of electing Trustees to take 
care of the temporalities of the said church, pursuant to 
the provisions of the above-mentioned Act. The same no- 
tification was again made, in the said church, by the same 
minister, on the 2d day of Januarys 1785, in manner afore- 
said. In pursuance of which notifications, the male per- 
sons who statedly worshiped in the said church, accord- 
ingly met at the time and place appointed, and in the 
presence of Jeremias Van Der Bilt and Joris Martense, 
Elders and Judges of the election, did then, and there, by 
plurality of voices, elect Philip Nagel, Cornelius Wyckoff, 
Hendrick Suydam, Peter Lefferts and John R. Vander- 
bilt. Trustees to take care of the temporalities of the said 


church, pursuant to the directions in the said Act men- 
tioned and prescribed. The style, name and title, by 
which the said Trustees and their successors should for- 
ever thereafter be called, known and distinguished, was 
designated to be, " The Trustees of the Reformed Protes- 
tant Dutch Church of Flatbush." These proceedings were 
all certified under the hands and seals, of Jeremias Van- 
derbilt and Joris Martense, the above-named Elders and 
Judges of the election, and duly acknowledged and re- 
corded in the Clerk's office of the County of Kings, on the 
said 17th day of January, 1785. Upon the organization 
of the Board of Trustees, Philip Nagel was appointed 
their Treasurer, and they made a record of all the real 
and personal estate belonging to the church. 

The church of Flatbush continued under the above- 
mentioned Act, providing for the incorporation of relig- 
ious societies generally, until the 19th day of December, 
1804. Some few years anterior to this time, the Legislature 
of the State, passed a special Act providing for the incor- 
poration of the Reformed Dutch Churches, and therein 
designated who should be the Trustees of every Dutch 
church, and the manner of their appointment. By this 
Act, it is provided that the minister or ministers, and el- 
ders and deacons, and if during any time there be no min- 
ister, then the elders and deacons during such time, of 
every Reformed Protestant Dutch Church or congrega- 
tion, now, or hereafter to be established in this State, and 
elected according to the rules and usages of such churches 
within this State, shall be the Trustees for every such 
church or congregation. The Act then prescribes the 
mode in which the Trustees and their successors shall be- 
come a body corporate, and the name or title of such in- 
corporation. In the same Act, further provision is made 


that it shall be lawful for the Trustees of any Eefonned 
Protestant Dutch Church or congregation, elected by 
virtue of any former law of this State, by writing under 
their hands and seals, duly proved and acknowledged, and 
also recorded in the office of the clerk of the county, to 
declare their will, not to continue any longer a body cor- 
porate under such former law, and thereupon such body 
corporate shall cease, and all the estate, real and personal 
held by them, shall pass and be vested in the Trustees of 
the church or congregation made a body corporate, in the 
manner provided for the Dutch churches. 

Under the provisions of the Act last above-mentioned, 
John Hegeman, Johannes E. Lott, Court Van Brunt and 
Andrew Suydam, " The Trustees of the Eeformed 
Protestant Dutch Church of Flatbush," elected accord- 
ing to the provisions of the Act, entitled " An Act to en- 
able all religious denominations in this State, to appoint 
Trustees, who shall be a body corporate, for the purpose 
of taking care of the temporalities of their respective con- 
gregations, and for other purposes therein mentioned," 
Passed April 6th, 1784, did on the 19th day of December, 
1804, by a certificate executed under their hands and 
seals, certify and declare, that they would not continue 
any longer a body corporate, under the said recited Act; 
which certificate was duly proved, acknowledged and re- 
corded, as the Act requires. On the same day, (Decem- 
ber 19th 1804,) Martinus Schoonmaker and Peter Lowe, 
ministers, Peter Stryker, John Williamson, Johannes E. 
Lott and Hendrick H. Suydam, Elders, and Joseph Hege- 
man, Cornelius Stryker and Lawrence Voorhees, Deacons 
elected according to the rules and usages of the Eeformed 
Protestant Dutch Church of Flatbush, did by a certifi- 
cate, executed under their hands and seals, also certify 
and declare, that they and their successors, forever should 


be known and distinguished as a body corporate, by virtue 
of the Act entitled " An Act, to provide for the incorpo- 
ration of religious societies." Passed March 27th, 1801, 
(see Kevised Laws of the State of New-York, by Kent 
and Kadcliff, vol. 1, page 336,) by the name or title of 
" The Trustees of the Eeformed Protestant Dutch 
Church of the Town of Flatbush, in Kings County." 
This certificate was also duly proved and acknowledged, 
and recorded in the Clerk's office, of the County of Kings. 
And the minister or ministers. Elders and Deacons of the 
church, have ever since been continued, under the pro- 
visions of the last mentioned Act, as a body corporate, by 
the name or title expressed and set forth in the original 
certificate now remaining of record. 

On the 19th of August, 1793, the inhabitants of the 
town of Flatbush, assembled in public meeting at the 
church, and having again declared their adherence to the 
doctrines and order of the Dutch Church, as ratified by 
the National Synod, held at Dordrecht, unanimously re- 
solved to erect a new house for public worship. Certain 
conditions and stipulations were agree upon, and a build- 
ing conunittee, consisting of the Trustees of the church, 
then five in number, and five Commissioners were ap- 
pointed to carry their design into execution. The names 
of these Trustees and Commissioners, were Cornelius 
Vanderveer, John Bennem, Johannes J. Lott, Peter Stry- 
ker, John Vanderveer, John Vanderbilt, Hendrick H. 
Suydam, Johannes E. Lott, John Williamson and Adrian 
Martense. This committee immediately proceeded to their 
work. They engaged Thomas Fardon as the architect and 
master builder, and Simeon Back, Frederic Cleaveland, 
Abijah Baldwin, Gideon Seaman, and other carpenters 
under him. The master mason was John Sanford, who 
was assisted by his two brothers and others under him. 


The painting of the church, when completed, was done 
by Matthew Hall, the father of George Hall, the first 
Mayor of the city of Brooklyn. This edifice, which is 
the one now standing, was three years in building. It 
was commenced in December, 1793, and finished in De- 
cember, 1796. It is most substantially built — all the 
stones of the former church being placed in its founda- 
tion, which is at least six feet broad. Most of the stones 
for the walls, were quarried at Hurlgate. They were 
brought by water to Gowanus and Denton's mill, by Jere- 
miah Van Dyke, from whence they were carted to Flat- 
bush, by the inhabitants. The brown stone which forms 
the three upper courses just above the foundation, were 
broken out of the Brooklyn woods. The brick around the 
doors and windows, which by the way, is almost the only 
matter of bad taste about the building, came from Hol- 
land, as ballast, in one of the ships belonging to the Hon- 
orable John Vanderbilt. 

The cost of this edifice was £4873. 7. 7. equal to 
$12,183, 44. exclusive of the labor and cartage performed 
by the members of the congregation, which was an item 
of very considerable amount. On the 6th day of De- 
cember, 1796, the pews in the church amounted to ninety- 
seven, exclusive of those reserved for the Elders and 
Deacons, the Pastor, the Justice of the peace, and a few 
for strangers, were sold at public auction, for the aggre- 
gate sum of £2013. 7. 9. equal to $5,033, 47. which did 
not meet the expense of the building by more than $7,000. 
A suitable register of the pews was then made, and of 
their respective owners. At the completion of the church, 
in the year 1796, a fine bell, imported expressly from 
Holland, was presented for its use, by the Honorable John 
Vanderbilt, for which a vote of thanks was passed by the 
Consistory, a copy of which was ordered to be transmitted 


to the liberal donor. The vessel in which this bell was 
shipped, was captured by the British, on her passage to 
this country, and carried into Halifax, — and from the fact 
that the bell had on it, this inscription, " Presented to the 
Reformed Dutch Church of Flatbush, by John Vander- 
bilt," it was presumed that both vessel and cargo, be- 
longed to a Holland merchant, and she was on the point of 
being condemned, when Mr. Charles Clarkson, the son-in- 
law of Mr. Vanderbilt, went to Halifax and testified that 
he was a citizen of the United States. It is something of 
a remarkable fact, that the second or third time that this 
bell was used, was on the occasion of the funeral of this 
noble spirited man. Although we shall have occasion 
hereafter to mention this distinguished individual, we 
trust we shall be pardoned for here stopping for a mo- 
ment, to render the tribute of respect to his memory. He 
was a man of great nobleness of mind, of liberal views, 
and of enlarged public spirit. He died on the 18th of 
November, 1796, in the fifty-seventh year of his age. His 
monumental stone, bears the following testimony to his 
worth. "He was a merchant of distinguished probity — a 
real patriot — an affectionate relative — a sincere friend, 
and a worthy man. Blessed with afiluence, he displayed 
a spirit of munificence in promoting the interests of his 
country, of religion and virtue. The moderation and con- 
ciliatory disposition which accompanied and conducted 
his virtues, secured him through life, an esteem almost 
unrivalled, and rendered his death, a great loss to the 
public, and to his family irreparable." 

The church after its completion, was dedicated to the 
service of Almighty God, in the month of January, 1797. 
The Rev. Martinus Schoonmaker, preached a sermon in 
the Dutch language, on that interesting occasion, and the 


Rev. Peter Lowe, preached in English in the afternoon of 
the same day. 

The combination between the six congregations of the 
county, to which we have alluded, continued until the 
year 1805, when the church of Brooklyn, called the Rev. 
Selah S. Woodhull, as their pastor exclusively. In the 
year 1808, the churches of Flatbush and Flatlands, united 
in a call upon the Rev. Peter Lowe, to become their 
pastor, which was accepted, and he continued in that 
relation, until the time of his death, which occurred on 
the 10th day of June, 1818. He was much beloved by 
the people of his charge; a man of fervent piety and of 
active usefulness. His death was that of the triumphant 
Christian. His remains lie interred in the public ceme- 
tery of this church. 

In the fall of the year 1818, the churches of Flat- 
bush and Flatlands, made a call on the Rev. Walter Mon- 
teith, who was installed their pastor in the year 1819. 
He continued his connection with this people only for 
a little more than a year, — for on the 13th of April, 
1820, he resigned his charge, having accepted a call to 
the Presbyterian Church in Schenectady. After the 
resignation of the Rev. Mr. Monteith, the congregations 
remained vacant for upwards of two years. In the month 
of May, 1822, a call was made out by the church of Flat- 
bush alone, on the present pastor, which was accepted 
by him, in August of that year, and on the 17th day of 
November ensuing, (1822,) he was installed by the 
Classis of Long-Island. The combination between the six 
Dutch churches in the county, was not however finally 
dissolved, until the death of the Rev. Martinus Schoon- 
maker, which took place on the 20th day of May, 1824, 
when he was at the advanced age of eighty-seven years. 
This venerable man was eminent for his faithful per- 


formance of duty, and his devotion to his Master's work. 
He continued to preach until within a few months of his 
death, — after having served the people of his charge for 
nearly forty years, he was gathered to his fathers, and 
his end was peace. 

In the year 1830, measures were first taken for the 
erection of the Consistory Room of the Reformed Dutch 
Church of Flatbush. The want of accommodation for 
religious services, other than those on the Sabbath, and 
particularly of a suitable place in which to hold the Sab- 
bath Schools, had been long felt; one of the school rooms 
in the Academy, had h^ttn used for the former purpose, 
and the church for the latter. But neither was such as 
circumstances called for. Arrangements were accord- 
ingly made for the erection of a separate building, which 
was completed in 1831, at the expense of $1,195.82. To 
meet this, a voluntary subscription, amounting to about 
$600, was taken up among the members of the congrega- 
tion, and the balance was paid by a donation from the 
Ladies' Sewing Society, and by the Consistory, who con- 
tributed nearly $400. 

During the winter of 1836-37, some important im- 
provements were made in the interior of the Reformed 
Dutch Church in Flatbush. We need not particularly 
specify them, as they are all well known to the present 
inhabitants. The pews on the ground floor, were all re- 
modelled, and rendered more comfortable, and a gallery 
was erected across the east end of the church. 

Reformed Dutch Church at New-Lots. 

In the year 1823, measures were taken for the erec- 
tion of a church edifice in New-Lots. The building was 


commenced in that year, and finished in the succeeding 
spring. It was dedicated to the service of Almighty God, 
in July 1824, on which occasion the Rev. John Alburtis,' 
then a minister of the Presbyterian Church, officiated! 
During the period when the building was erecting, efforts 
were made to have that part of the congregation of Tlat- 
bush organised into a separate church. But they had 
been ineffectual. On the 12th of August 1824, however, 
the Classis of Long-Island resolved that they should be- 
come a distinct congregation, and took measures accord- 
ingly, to organize them into a church, which took place 
m the latter part of that month, the late Rev. David 
S. Bogart, by order of the Classis, officiating on the oc- 
casion. During the succeeding winter, they united with 
the church of Flatlands in making out a call upon the 
Rev. William Crookshank, a licentiate from the The- 
ological Seminary at New-Brunswick, who in February 
1825, was ordained by the Classis, and installed pastor of 
the churches of i^ew-Lots and Flatlands. He continued 
his connection with this people, for a little more than ten 
years. In April 1835, he resigned his charge and re- 
moved to the village of Newburgh. On the 22d of March 
1836, the Rev. J. Abeel Baldwin, having accepted their 
call, was installed pastor of these churches, who is still 
officiating among them with much acceptance and use- 

Episcopal Church at Flatbush. 

In June 1836, incipient steps were taken to organize an 
Episcopal Church in Flatbush. The first service pre- 
paratory to this, was held by the Rev. Dr. Cutler of 
Brooklyn, in the Consistory Room of the Reformed Dutch 


Church, which had been offered for the occasion, by the 
Consistory. In reference to this enterprize, although it 
was the first attempt to introduce the services of another 
denomination of Christians in the town, the kindest feel- 
ings were entertained and expressed, and such facilities 
were afforded to further it as Christian courtesy dictated, 
on behalf of the officers and members of the Reformed 
Dutch Church. On the 11th of July, 1836, the following 
persons were chosen to constitute the first Vestry, viz : 

Matthew Clarkson and Robert J. Crommelin, Wardens; 
David Johnson, James Mowatt, George Cornell, C. Du- 
rand, Charles Waldron, A. Norrie, William H. Story and 
Samuel Richards, Jr., Vestrymen. 

The corner stone of the church was laid in accordance 
with the forms and provisions of the Protestant Episcopal 
Church, on the 13th day of August, 1836, by the Right 
Rev. B. T. Onderdonk, Bishop of the Diocese of ISTew- 
York, when it was named the " St. Paul's Church of Flat- 
bush." An address was delivered on the occasion, by the 
Rev. Benjamin C. Cutler, D. D. The building, which 
will well compare with any of its size, for beauty, neat- 
ness and symmetry, was finished in the fall of the same 
year. The cost of this edifice, including certain improve- 
ments around the church, and the organ, was $8,480. To 
meet this, a subscription was taken from sundry indi- 
viduals, amounting to $2,398. The balance, which was 
$6,082, was generously contributed by Matthew Clark- 
son, Esq. 

On the 23d of December, 1836, the Rev. Thomas S. 
Brittain, was chosen the first rector. The church was 
consecrated to the service of Almighty God, by the Bishop 
of the Diocese, on the 29th day of December, in the same 
year. The instrument of donation was read by the Rev. 


Mr. Brlttain, the rector, and the instrument of consecra- 
tion, by the Rev. John F. Messenger, assistant. From 
that time forth, services were regularly held in the church 
on every Sunday; the Rev. Mr. Brittain the rector, offi- 
ciating in the afternoon, and the Rev. Mr. Messenger, 
the assistant, in the morning. On September 1st, 1837, 
the Rev. Mr. Messenger resigned, and on the 3d of the 
same month, the Rev. James Coghlan commenced offici- 
ating in his place. The Rev. Mr. Brittain resigned his 
rectorship, on the 29th of March, 1838, and on the 6th 
day of April, in the same year, the Rev. Mr. Coghlan 
succeeded as rector. He continued to officiate as such, 
until the fall of the succeeding year, when, in conse- 
quence of his removal to England, he resigned. This 
took place on the 21st of October, 1839. On the 30th of 
March, 1840, the Rev. William Barlow, the present 
worthy rector, was elected to that office, with whose ex- 
cellencies of mind and character, the inhabitants of the 
town are well acquainted.* 

Reformed Dutch Church at East New- York. 

In the year 1838, a new Reformed Dutch Church was 
built at East New- York, a settlement of some consider- 
able extent, which has grown up in the north west part of 
New-Lots, bordering on the turnpike. This church was 
dedicated to the service of God, in the spring of the suc- 
ceeding year, and in the month of May, of that year, 1839, 
the Rev. William H. Campbell, was installed as their 
pastor. He continued his connection with them until the 

* The Rev. Mr. Barlow, resigned his rectorship, on or about the 
1st of April, 1842. 


fall of 1841, when he removed to Albany, to take charge 
of the Third Reformed Dutch Church of that city. 

Thus, in the good providence of God, have churches 
been multiplied within the bounds of the town of Flat- 
bush, "f wenty years ago there was but one edifice for 
the accommodation of all the community. Now we have 
four respectable churches, besides a building which a few 
years ago was put up in the woods, between this and New- 
Lots, for the use of the colored population, particularly 
of the Methodist denomination. Would, that while these 
facilities for divine worship are afforded, and the various 
ministers in our bounds are from Sabbath to Sabbath 
proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ, all our in- 
habitants may become wise unto salvation. 


Village School. 

No principle was more deeply engraved upon the heart 
of the Hollander than that " the church and the school 
must be maintained ; " a principle of the soundest wisdom, 
and of the most practical utility. For, without education, 
morality and religion, there can be no foundation for so- 
cial order and prosperity. These are the great safeguards 
of the community, and where these are fostered and en- 
couraged, we have reason to expect not only intelligence 
and virtue, but a due respect to the laws of the land, and 
to all the rights and privileges of those who are associated 
in any one community. Accordingly, the early Dutch 
settlers in Flatbush, imbued with the principle which has 
just been mentioned, soon after their settlement, took 
measures for the education of their children, and the 
maintenance of suitable schools. Among the first records 
of the town, we find notice of the employment of a school- 
master. Much care seems to have been taken, not only in 
the selection, but in the agreements formed with the teach- 
ers of their children. The first schoolmaster of whom we 
have any knowledge, was Adrian Hegeman. He was one 
of the original proprietors of the town, and was the owner 
of the farm lying immediately north of the property now 
in the tenure of Mr. Isaac Cortelyou. He was the ances- 
tor of the widow of the late Peter Lefferts, and probably 


of the whole family of Hegemans, now living. He was 
engaged as schoolmaster from 1659, to 1671. 

From the records of the town, it appears that the 
schoolmaster acted as Town Clerk, and as the rates of 
tuition were low, previously to the American revolution, 
the offices of sexton, and " Foresinger," or chorister, of 
the church, were conferred upon him, with a view to in- 
crease his emoluments. He received all interment fees, 
for infants and adults, according to a scale of established 
prices, and for his services as chorister, he was paid an 
annual salary by the Consistory of the church. The 
chorister, in addition to his duty of taking the lead in 
setting and singing the Psalms and Hymns, was also re- 
quired to ring the bell for all public services, to read the 
commandments at the commencement of the morning 
worship, and the Apostles creed, in the afternoon. These 
latter services were all performed in the Dutch language, 
and uniformly continued so until about the year 1790, 
at the time when Mr. Gabriel Ellison, the first English 
schoolmaster left the village. 

The following is a list of the schoolmasters of the town 
of Flatbush, from the year 1659, to the year 1802, when 
the village school was removed into the Academy. 

Adrian Hegeman, from 1659 to 1671. 

Jacop Joosten, " 

Francays De Burynne, " 

Michael Hainelle, " 

Jan Gerrit Van Marckje, " 

Derick Storm, " 

Jan Tiebout, " 

Johannes Van Eckkellen, " 

Johannes Schenck, '' 

Jan Gancell, ' 




















Adrian Hegeman, 


1719 to 1741. 

Jores Kemsen, 



Petnis Van Steenburgh, 

1762 ' 


Anthony Welp, 



Gabriel Ellison, 

1776 ' 


John Eubell, 



Michael Schoonmaker, 

1793 ' 


Patrick Dillon, 

1798 ' 

Patrick Noon, 


Specific and very particular agreements were made 
with these several schoolmasters, which are entered at 
large, upon the town records. It may be interesting to 
present one or two of these, to show the duties which these 
persons formerly were required to perform, and the man- 
ner in which they were to instruct the children. The fol- 
lowing is a translation of the agreement made with Jo- 
hannes Van Eckkelen, who commenced his duties as 
schoolmaster, in Platbush, in the year 1682. 

" Johannes Van Eckkelen, a young man from New- Al- 
bany, is hereby called and accepted, on the first day of Oc- 
tober, 1681, with the advice and consent of the Honorable 
Magistrates, to perform the duties heretofore required of 
Jan Thibaud, in manner following: (1.) He shall serve the 
Church and School, according to the existing ordinances, 
in the same manner, as they have been heretofore per- 
formed by the above named Jan Thibaud, and as hereun- 
der written. — (2.) This contract shall take effect, from the 
first day of October, Inst, and continue to the first day of 
May next, for the purpose of making a trial of each other 
in the mean time. — (3.) For the performance of the above 
duties, he shall be entitled to receive the sum of 234 guild- 
ers, in grain, valued in Seewant, with the other privileges 
appertaining to the calling, during the time specified. 





Accepted Schoolmaster and Chorister of Flathush. 

School Service.— I. The school shall begin at eight 
o'clock, and go out at eleven; and in the afternoon shall 
begin at one o'clock, and end at four. The bell shall be 
rung when the school commences.* 

II. When the school begins, one of the children shall 
read the morning prayer, as it stands in the catechism, 
and close with the prayer before dinner; in the afternoon 
it shall begin with the prayer after dinner, and end with 
the evening prayer. The evening school shall begin with 
the Lord's prayer, and close by singing a psalm. 

III. He shall instruct the children on every Wednesday 
and Saturday, in the common prayers, and the questions 
and answers in the catechism, to enable them to repeat 
them the better on Sunday before the afternoon service, 
or on Monday, when they shall be catechised before the 
congregation. Upon all such occasions, the schoolmaster 
shall be present, and shall require the children to be 
friendly in their appearance and encourage them to an- 
swer freely and distinctly. 

IV. He shall be required to keep his school nine 
months in succession, from September to June, in each 

* The bell used on these occasions was the church bell. The prac- 
tice of ringing this bell at the opening of the school continued till the 
year 1794, when the second church was taken down. The church 
bell was also used by the Academy, for nearly ten years. 


year, in case it should be concluded upon to retain his 
services for a year or more, or without limitation ; and he 
shall then be required to be regulated by these articles, 
and to perform the same duties which his predecessor, 
Jan Thibaud, above named, was required to perform. In 
every particular therefore, he shall be required to keep 
school, according to this seven months agreement, and 
shall always be present himself. 

Church Service. — I. He shall keep the church clean, 
and ring the bell three times before the people assemble 
to attend the preaching and catechising. Also before the 
sermon is commenced, he shall read a chapter out of the 
Holy Scriptures, and that, between the second and third 
ringing of the bell. After the third ringing he shall read 
the ten commandments, and the twelve articles of our 
faith, and then take the lead in singing. In the afternoon 
after the third ringing of the bell, he shall read a short 
chapter, or one of the Psalms of David, as the congrega- 
tion are assembling; and before divine service commences, 
shall introduce it, by the singing of a Psalm or Hymn. 

11. — When the minister shall preach at Brooklyn, or 
New-Utrecht, he shall be required to read twice before the 
congregation, from the book commonly used for that pur- 
pose. In the afternoon he shall also read a sermon on the 
explanation of the catechism, according to the usage and 
practice approved of by the minister. The children as 
usual, shall recite their questions and answers out of the 
catechism, on Sunday, and he shall instruct them therein. 
He, as chorister, shall not be required to perform these 
duties, whenever divine service shall be performed in 
Flatlands, as it would be unsuitable, and prevent many 
from attending there. 


III. — For the administration of Holy Baptism, he shall 
provide a basin with water, for which he shall be entitled 
to receive from the parents, or witnesses, twelve styvers. 
He shall, at the expense of the church, provide bread and 
wine, for the celebration of the Holy Supper; He shall be 
in duty bound promptly to furnish the minister with the 
name of the child to be baptized, and with the names of 
the parents and witnesses. And he shall also serve as 
messenger for the consistory. 

IV. — ^He shall give the funeral invitations, dig the 
grave, and toll the bell, for which service he shall receive 
for a person of fifteen years and upwards, twelve guild- 
ers, and for one under that age, eight guilders. If he 
should be required to give invitations beyond the limits 
of the town, he shall be entitled to three additional guild- 
ers, for the invitation of every other town, and if he 
should be required to cross the river, and go to New- 
York, he shall receive four guilders. 

School Money. — He shall receive from those who at- 
tend the day school, for a speller or reader, three guilders 
a quarter, and for a writer four guilders. From those 
who attend evening school, for a speller or reader, four 
guilders, and for a writer, six guilders shall be given. 

Salary. — In addition to the above, his salary shall con- 
sist of four hundred guilders, in grain, valued in See- 
want, to be delivered at Brooklyn Ferry, and for his 
services from October to May, as above stated, a sum of 
two hundred and thirty-four guilders, in the same kind, 
with the dwelling house, barn, pasture lot, and meadows, 
to the school appertaining. The same to take effect from 
the first day of October, Instant. 


Done and agreed upon in Consistory, under the inspec- 
tion of the Honorable Constable and Overseers, the 8th, 
of October, 1682. 

Constable and Overseers. The Consistory. 

Cornelius Berrian, Casparus Van Zuren, Minister, 

Kynier Aertsen, Adriaen Keyerse, 

Jan Remsen, Cornelis Barent Vandewyck. 

I agree to the above articles, and promise to perform 
them according to the best of my ability. 


Many of the provisions of this agreement are calculated 
at this day to excite a smile. But in one particular it is 
to be admired. It shows how careful and exact our fore- 
fathers were, in embuing the minds of the young and 
rising generation, with a reverence for the God of their 
existence, and with a knowledge of the principles of our 
holy religion. These are matters which we cannot too 
sacredly guard. Mere secular knowledge is not a safe- 
guard to personal virtue, nor to the security of the State. 
Sound education consists not simply in the cultivation of 
the mind, but in the infusion of moral and religious prin- 
ciples. Without the latter, it is but a frail support of the 
great temple of liberty and independence. But when 
moral principles are inculcated in connection with intel- 
lectual light, we may hope to see the youth growing up in 
virtue and proving ornaments in their day, and supports 
to the church and the state. Such was the deep rooted 
sentiment of the early Dutch settlers, and was transmitted 
by them to their immediate descendants. And hence the 
careful provisions in all their agreements with their 


schoolmasters. At that time religious instruction could be 
introduced in the schools without any difficulty, as all the 
community were of one faith— All adhering to the Belgic 
Confession, the articles of the Synod of Dort, and the 
Catechisms of the Keformed Dutch Church. Such a 
mode of instruction however, from the present state of 
society, and the multiplication of religious sects, cannot 
now be pursued. But we deprecate the day, when the 
Bible shall be excluded from our common schools, and no 
care taken to instill into the minds of the young, sound 
moral principles, the principles of the religion of Christ. 

We have presented an agreement formed with a school- 
master, in the year 1682. We now give one made in the 
year 1773, nearly one hundred years after, with Anthony 
Welp, the last teacher of the Dutch language. As will 
be seen, it contains many of the provisions of the former, 
and is based in general, upon the same principles. 

"In Kings County, 
" Flathush, August 18, 1773. 

" The undersigned, Philippus Nagel, Johannes Ditmars 
and Cornelius Vanderveer, Jr., being authorized by the 
town of Flatbush, to call a schoohnaster for the same 
town, have agreed with Mr. Anthony Welp, to keep school 
in the following manner. 

"First the school shall begin and end in a Christian- 
like manner: At 8 o'clock in the morning it shall begin 
with the morning prayer, and end at 11 o'clock, with 

"1st. For dinner. At 1 o'clock in the afternoon, it 
shall begin with the prayer after meat, and at 4 o'clock in 
the afternoon, end with the evening prayer. 


"2d. The above named schoolmaster shall teach chil- 
dren and adult persons, low dutch and english spelling 
and reading, and also cyphering to all who may desire or 
request such instruction. 

"3d. The above named schoolmaster shall have for the 
instruction of every child or person, in low dutch spelling, 
reading and writing, the sum of four shillings : for those 
who are instructed in english spelling, reading and writ- 
ing, the sum of five shillings: and for those who are in- 
structed in cyphering, the sum of six shillings: and that 
for three months instruction : and also a load of firewood 
shall be brought for each scholar, every nine months, for 
the use of the school. 

"4th. The above schoolmaster shall keep school five 
days in every week: once in each week in the afternoon, 
the scholars shall learn the questions and answers in 
Borges Catechism: or the questions and answers in the 
Heidleburgh Catechism, with the scripture texts thereto 
belonging, or as it may be desired by the scholar or by his 
guardian, for any other day in the week, so as to be most 
beneficial to the one instructed. 

" 5th. The above named schoolmaster shall occupy the 
school-house, with the appurtenances thereto belonging, 
in the same manner as the same was occupied by the 
schoolmaster, Petrus Van Steenburgh. Also, the above 
named schoolmaster shall be yearly paid by the Worthy 
Consistory, the sum of four pounds, to attend to the 
church services, such as reading and singing ; and for the 
interment of the dead, the above named schoolmaster 
shall be entitled to receive so much as is customary in the 
above named town. 

" 6th, and Lastly. The above agreement shall be obli- 
gatory for such length of time as the present schoolmas- 


ter shall render his services amongst us. But if it should 
so happen that the town should not require the services 
of the above named schoolmaster, any longer after the ex- 
piration of one year: in such case the schoolmaster shall 
have three months notice thereof, from the above author- 
ized persons, or from such persons as may be thereto ap- 
pointed. And if the above named schoolmaster should 
desire to discontinue his services, he shall in like manner 
give the town three months previous notice of his in- 

For the mutual performance of this agreement, we 
have signed this with our hands. 

N. B, The above sums of money mentioned in the 
Third Article, shall be paid by those who send the schol- 
ars to school. 

GOES. V. D. VEER, Junr. 

We have not been able to gather any information rel- 
ative to the character or attainments of these early school- 
masters. Nor have we met with any of their literary pro- 
ductions. We cannot, however, refrain in this place, from 
presenting the following rare specimen of poetic profi- 
ciency, which we find on the title page of the first Minute 
Book of the Board of Supervisors of the Gounty of Kings. 
It was composed by J. M. Sperling of Flatbush, who was 
chosen clerk of the board, in the year 1716. 

"My loving Friends of this County See, 
That you hereby may Regulated Bee — 

Fear God and Keep the Law with Love of one accord 

And be Obdient to our Soveraigne Lord 


Then you will meet with Men that Sees 
That Doth according to Law by Words and Deeds 
Imploy'd the same within your Port 
That is my advice now in short — " 

The school-house referred to in the agreements which 
we have presented, was located on a triangular lot of 
ground situated on the east side of the main street, di- 
rectly opposite to the old parsonage and present Consist- 
ory Room, on the site now occupied by the store of Mr. 
Michael Schoonmaker & Son. There were three distinct 
buildings joined together, and evidently erected at differ- 
ent periods of time. The most eastern, which was proba- 
bly the first erected in the town, was built of stone, and 
stood about sixty feet from the street, being one story 
high. The second was composed of wood, more elevated 
than the first, having a steep roof in front, and a long 
sloping roof in the rear, reaching so near the ground as to 
admit of only a small window behind. The third was 
also a frame building, of more modern date, the gable end 
of which fronted the street, and stood on a line with it, 
but built in the same style as the last — the roofs exactly 
corresponding with each other, and although it was 
probably erected fifty years subsequently, still the same 
model was tenaciously adhered to. The whole fronted to 
the south, with the gable end, as we have said, to the 
road, having two rooms in front and two small rooms in 
the rear, and in more modern times the east end of the 
building served as a kitchen. The westerly front room 
was always used as the school-room, and the small room 
in the rear of it, (usually called the " prison," from the 
fact that unruly boys were occasionally confined in it,) was 
also used for school purposes, when the number of schol- 


ars was too great to be accommodated in tlie front school- 
room. The residue of the building, with the kitchen and 
barn, was occupied by the schoolmaster and his family. 
The village school was kept in this building until about 
the year 1803. In the year 1805, the old school-house was 
sold to Bateman Lloyd, Esq., who took it down, and with 
the timber and other materials of it, built a store on his 
own premises, a few feet north of his dwelling-house. 
The building erected with these materials, continued to 
be kept as a dry-goods and grocery store, until the year 
1825, when it was removed and converted into a barn, 
now on the premises owned and occupied by Dr. Zabris- 
kie. After the school-house was removed, the lot on 
which it stood, laid in common for some time. During 
the last war with Great Britain, the government erected 
a gun house upon the north west angle of the lot, suffi- 
ciently large to hold two heavy field pieces. About the 
same time, the store now owned by Mr. Michael Schoon- 
maker, was built upon part of the premises, and in the 
year 1823, the present parsonage house was erected on the 
southern portion of it, which embraces all the ground 
commonly called the school lot. 

The first person who taught English, was Petrus Van 
Steenburgh. He was schoolmaster from the year 1762, 
to 1773. At what time precisely he commenced teaching 
English we cannot tell. But he had at the same time, as 
well as his successor, pupils in both the Dutch and Eng- 
lish language. And as all the scholars were in the habit 
of speaking Dutch, it required some little management 
on the part of the worthy school-master to make his 
pupils who were learning English use that language en- 
tirely. His rule was that no scholar who was instructed 
in English should speak a Dutch word in school, and if 


lie did so he should be punished. In order to detect these 
persons, he had a pewter token about the size of a dollar, 
which was given to the one who first spoke a Dutch word 
after the school was opened. He gave it to the next one 
whom he heard speak Dutch, and so it passed from one 
to another; but the boy in whose possession the token 
was found at the close of the school, appears to have been 
the scapegoat for the whole, for he was severely ferruled 
upon his hand by the faithful Petrus Van Steenburgh, 
who took great delight in finding the successful operation 
of his most ingenious device to detect the unhappy wight 
who spoke a Dutch word. 

The first select Classical school, which was opened in 
this town, was commenced by one John Copp. His school 
was held at first in a small house lately belonging to 
Judge Garrit Martense, which stood on the lot now occu- 
pied by Mr. Seymour, and which has been cut in two, and 
converted into barns and stables. From this he removed 
and taught in the south room of the house of Cornelius 
Antonides. At what date he opened his school, cannot be 
ascertained with precision. An advertisement over his 
name is found in " the New-York Journal, or General 
Advertiser," published by John Holt, under the date of 
July, 4th, 1774. In this, he states, that " he has for some- 
time kept a grammar school in Flatbush." In this adver- 
tisement he " proposes " (to use his own words,) " to teach 
the Latin and Greek languages and Arithmetic in the cor- 
rectest and best manner, besides reading, writing, and 
principles of English Grammar." His terms were $50 a 
year for boarding; and tuition not to exceed $15 yearly. 
He refers to the Rev. Dr. Cooper, President of Kings 
(now Columbia) College, to the Hon. William Axtell, 
who then resided in Flatbush, and to Andrew Elliott, 


Collector of His Majesty's Customs in New- York. He 
adds — " Dr. Cooper proposes to visit the school quarterly, 
when the scholars will be examined." 

This school of Mr. Copp appears to have been well 
patronised. Many of the most respectable and influential 
inhabitants of New-York entrusted their children to his 
care. Henry Remsen, the late President of the Manhat- 
tan Company, was one of his scholars, besides many others. 
This school was broken up by the war of the American 
Revolution, and Mr. Copp afterwards joined the army. 

During the period of the struggle for American Inde- 
pendence, the school in Flatbush was taught by Mr. Ga- 
briel Ellison. He was an Englishman by birth, and was 
the first teacher who taught English exclusively. He had 
been a considerable time among the Indians in Canada 
— and although a man of eccentric habits, was a good 
schoolmaster, in proof of which, we may remark, that in 
addition to village scholars, he had many others from 
Brooklyn and other places. In order to entitle him to re- 
ceive all the emoluments which his predecessors had en- 
joyed, it was indispensably necessary that he should 
acquire a knowledge of the Dutch, so as to enable him to 
perform the duties of sexton and chorister in that lan- 
guage. This he readily undertook, and although he com- 
mitted many blunders in the onset, yet by diligence and 
perseverance, he overcome his many difficulties, and was 
soon fully inducted into the offices of sexton and chor- 
ister. These offices he held until he left the village 
school, about 1790, and performed them generally to the 
satisfaction of the inhabitants. 

Many incidents of quite an amusing character, are re- 
lated of him during his residence here. We will mention 


one or two. As sexton, it was his duty to ring the bell 
and give alarms during the revolutionary war. The vil- 
lage was often disturbed during that period, and Mr. 
Ellison, from his office, and from his living near the 
church, usually warned the inhabitants by ringing the 
bell. On one occasion an alarm was sounded in the night 
time. Ellison not being able to find his small clothes, 
(for pantaloons were not known in those days,) seized his 
wife's calimanco petticoat, which he hastily drew on, and 
ran to the church, where he was found dressed in this 
style, pulling away like a lusty fellow at the bell rope. 
Such a sight must have put to flight all the fears of the 
inhabitants, and turned the scene of alarm into one of 

During part of the time that Ellison was chorister of 
the church, the Rev. Mr. Van Sinderen, was pastor of the 
church. The Domine was preaching on a certain occa- 
sion in the Dutch language, on the subject of the con- 
version of the Philippian Jailor, and as he was a man of 
somewhat eccentric habits, he made frequent digressions 
from his subject. During his discourse at this time, he 
said he would stake a wager that there was not one man 
in the church who knew the English of the Dutch word, 
" Stoohivaarder." This bet was several times repeated 
by the Domine. At length Ellison, who in virtue of his 
office of chorister, occupied the front seat in the Deacons 
pew, thinking himself the best English scholar present, 
bawled out with a loud voice. "Jailor sir J' Mr. Van 
Sinderen feeling somewhat mortified at this unexpected 
reply, (for he wished to have given the answer himself,) 
looked down upon Ellison with some degree of scorn, and 
said to him, " you must never talk when I preach." 



•3' »eE2 

•A " if * ' 



Erasmus Hall. 

'Not long after the peace, measures were taken for the 
founding a respectable Academy in the town of Flatbush. 
The projectors of the enterprize were the Rev. Dr. John 
H. Livingston, who then residing in Flatbush, and Sena- 
tor John Vanderbilt. The latter was a man of great pub- 
lic spirit, and of large and liberal views. He took an ac- 
tive part in accomplishing the noble design, and soon ob- 
tained the active co-operation of several other distin- 
guished persons. At length, in the year 1786, Jacob Lef- 
ferts, Joris Martense, Peter Lefferts, Johannes E. Lott, 
Cornelius Vanderveer, John Vanderbilt, William B. Gif- 
ford, Peter Cornell, Matthew Clarkson,Aquila Giles, John 
J. Vanderbilt and Garrit Martense, inhabitants of the 
town of Flatbush, associated together, and took the neces- 
sary measures, for the erection of a large and commodious 
building, for an academy. A subscription paper was cir- 
culated in the village, and handed to some friends in the 
city of I^ew-York, by which the sum of £915. was raised 
towards the object. This subscription is as follows. 

" Whereas, this county experiences the greatest incon- 
venience, from the want of a Public School being erected, 
in which, the English, Latin and Greek Languages, with 
other branches of learning, usual in Academies are taught, 
and considering the preceding regulations and proposals 
for erecting the same, in the township of Flatbush, highly 
beneficial and honorable to said county: We the under- 
written, agree to pay towards erecting the same, such sum 
as is annexed to our names, the one half on the first day of 
April next, the other half on the first day of August fol- 
lowing, and we further take the liberty to solicit from the 
friends of Literature, in New- York, their encouragement. 


to enable us to carry into execution this laudable attempt. 
Kings County, Flatbush, February 22d, 1786. 

John Vanderbilt, 


Adriantie Yoorhies, 


Peter Lefferts, 


Hendrick Suydam, 


John Vanderbilt, 


William B. Gifford, 


Garrit Martense, 


Philip Nagel, 


M. Clarkson, 


Peter Cornell, 


Joris Martense, 


Johannes Waldron, 


Aa. Giles, 


George Clinton, for any 

Jacob Lefferts, 


place in Kings Co. 


Johannes E. Lott, 


John Jay, 


Cornelius Vanderveer, 


Robert R. Livingston, 


James Duane, 


John Sloss Hobart, 


Richard Varick, 


James Giles, 


Brockholst Livingston, 

, 10. 

John H. Livingston, 


Alexander Hamilton, 


Comfort Sands, 


William Duer, 


Samuel Franklin, 


Walter Rutherford, 


Francis Childs, 


Carey Ludlow, 


Richard Piatt, 


Edward Livingston, 


W. Edgar, 


William Wilcocks, 


Sampson Fleming, 


D. C. Verplanck, 


Aaron Burr, 


Mc Coombe, 


During that year, 1786, the building which was one 
hundred feet in front, and thirty-six feet in depth, was 
erected. We need not here give any particular description 
of it, as the inhabitants are all familiar with its appear- 
ance. The expense incurred in the completing of this 
edifice amounted to $6250. The money obtained by vol- 
untary subscription, was first applied, but proved to be 
insufficient to defray the expenditures. The founders and 


benefactors of the Institution then turned their attention 
to another source. There was at that time a considerable 
tract of land lying east of the village, belonging to the in- 
habitants of Flatbush, and held by them in common. This 
is what was called Twillers and Corlear Flats. The pro- 
prietors of the town held rights in these Flats, which were 
specified in their deeds, but no one could locate his par- 
ticular part. It was held in common, and hence consent 
was obtained for the sale and disposition of the same. 
The founders of the Academy held proportionate rights in 
these commons, and agreed that their respective propor- 
tions should be applied towards paying the debt they had 
contracted. These Flats, as we have heretofore stated, 
were sold at the rate of $16, an acre. The proceeds of the 
sale of Corlears Flats chiefly were devoted to the benefit 
of the Academy. The whole amount by which the Acad- 
emy was benefited by this sale was about $1500. The 
residue of the amount of sales was divided among those 
inhabitants of the town who would not relinquish their 
right in favor of the Academy. 

As things were now in a considerable state of for- 
wardness, and the building ready for its intended pur- 
poses, the founders above named, the more fully to carry 
their designs into effect, did, on the 18th day of May, 
1787, make application to the Board of Eegents of the 
University of the State of :N'ew-York, that the Academy 
erected by them, might be incorporated by that Honor- 
able Body, and become subject to their visitation. On 
the 20th, of November, 1787, a charter of incorporation 
was granted to John Vanderbilt, Walter Minto, Peter 
Lefferts, Johannes E. Lott, Aquila Giles, Cornelius Van- 
derveer, George Martense, Jacob Lefferts, William B. 
GiflPord, Hendrick Suydam, John J. Vanderbilt, Martinus 


Schoonmaker, Philip Nagel, Peter Cornell, John H. Liv- 
ingston, James Wilson, Samuel Provost, John Mason and 
Comfort Sands, as Trustees of the said Academy, by the 
name and style of " The Trustees of Erasmus Hall, in 
Kings County." The name given to the Academy was 
in honor of Desiderius Erasmus, of Holland, the distin- 
guished patron of literature, in the 16th, Century. Only 
two academies had been incorporated by the Eegents 
previously to this, so that it is the third oldest Academy 
in the State. 

It may be proper to state, that James Wilson, Samuel 
Provost, John Mason and Comfort Sands, four of the 
Trustees named in the Charter of Incorporation, in conse- 
quence of not living in the town, never attended any of 
the meetings of the Board, and their places becoming va- 
cant, the Rev. Peter Lowe, Garrit Martense, Peter Stryker 
and Cornelius Bergen were elected members of the Board. 

The seminary was, from its commencement, opposed by 
many of the inhabitants of Flatbush, who entertained a 
strong and decided attachment to the village school, and 
consequently their influence and means had a great tend- 
ency to retard the rise and progress of Erasmus Hall. 
Several amusing anecdotes might be told touching this. 
Some were disposed to ascribe all their misfortunes to the 
erection of the Academy. One worthy old gentleman, 
when unloading some bags, unfortunately slipped, and fell 
from his waggon. He rose greatly incensed, and cried 
out, " that Academy will never do." 

The Trustees of the Institution however, though labor- 
ing under a heavy debt, and incumbered by various diffi- 
culties, w^ere assiduous in their duty. They devised a 
system of instruction, rules and regulations by which the 
Hall should be governed, and employed the ablest and 
best teachers in the different departments of instruction. 


This last measure however, while it lessened the spirit of 
opposition, consumed the whole income of the institution, 
as all was annually expended in paying the salaries of 
these teachers and other expenses incidental to all literary 
establishments. The debt of the Hall, notwithstanding 
the most persevering exertions on the part of the Trustees, 
amounted still to $1,250. The Trustees by farther volun- 
tary contributions, reduced somewhat this amount, so 
that on the 12th of September, 1789, it was $1,064.94. 
On the 17th day of June, 1794, application was made to 
the Trustees, for the purchase of the remaining part of 
the commons which had not been disposed of at the first 
sale. The proposals were accepted, and the conveyances 
accordingly executed. With the money arising from this 
sale, the debt of the Hall was reduced to $900. In this 
situation it remained till the year 1808, when a donation 
of $100, was granted by the Eegents of the University 
to the Trustees of Erasmus Hall, and the same was ap- 
plied, in conjunction with other exertions of the Trustees, 
towards discharging the debt, and on the 13th of May, 
1809, it was reduced to $668. It remained nearly at this 
amount, till the year 1825, when the debt was entirely 

At a session of the General Synod of the Reformed 
Dutch Church, held at Albany, in June 1794, they re- 
solved to locate their Divinity Hall in Flatbush. Their 
professor of divinity, the Rev. Dr. Livingston, had pre- 
viously resided here, and had given instruction to such 
students in theology as put themselves under his charge. 
It is to be regretted that the General Synod of the church 
ever removed their Theological School from this place, and 
located it in New-Jersey. Had it been continued in Flat- 
bush, Erasmus Hall would long ere this, have grown into 


a flourishing college, under the auspices of the State of 
New- York, and the literary as well as theological inter- 
ests of the Keformed Dutch Church, have been prospered 
in a far higher degree than they have yet been. 

The Rev. John 11. Livingston, D. D., who then resided 
during the summer seasons, in the house now owned by 
Dr. Vanderveer, was appointed the First Principal of the 
Hall. The office at that time, was chiefly honorary, as 
he performed no part of the instruction in the Academy, 
and so it continued to be as late as the year 1814. Mr. 
James Todd, was chosen the First Classical, and Joseph 
Turner, the First English teacher. Very shortly after- 
wards, John Gibson, Edward Shepherd, John Terhune, 
Albert Oblenis and Michael Schoonmaker, were employed 
in succession, as assistant teachers. In the year 1792, 
Mr. Todd resigned, and the Trustees appointed Peter 
Wilson, afterwards known as Dr. Wilson, then Professor 
of Languages in Columbia College, the first or chief 
teacher in the Hall. During the period of the adminis- 
tration of this distinguished linguist, the Academy flour- 
ished rapidly. A large number of young men from the 
city of New- York, not only, but from Georgia, North 
and South Carolina, Virginia and the West-Indies were 
sent here to be educated, most of whom, boarded in the 
respective families of the town. Among these, some have 
been quite distinguished in the several professions, both 
in church and state. We may mention the following: 

William A. Duer, now President of Columbia College. 

John Duer, one of the revisers of the Revised Statutes 
of this state. 

John Berrian, late Attorney General of the United 
States, and now a member of the Senate. 

Henry Jackson, Secretary of Legation to France, un- 
der the Hon. Mr. Crawford. 


George M. Troup, for several terms Governor of 

John Hunter, now a member of the Senate of New- 

Rev. Jno. Blair Linn, the eloquent minister of the Re- 
formed Dutch Church, of New- York, and a distinguished 
American poet. 

Rev. Jno. H. Meyers, pastor of the church of Schenec- 

Rev. Jacob Schoonmaker, D. D., pastor of the church 
of Jamaica. 

Rev. Peter Labagh, pastor of the church of Harlingen, 

Rev. Peter Van Pelt, D. D., pastor of the church of 

Rev. Philip Duryee, D. D., pastor of the church of 
English Neighborhood, N. J. 

Morris Miller, formerly member of Congress and First 
Judge of Oneida County. 

We might enlarge this list to a considerable extent, but 
we forbear. 

On the 28th of November, 1792, the Rev. Dr. Living- 
ston resigned the office of Principal of the Hall. His let- 
ter was received by the board, on the 5th of December in 
that year, and at a subsequent meeting held on the 8th of 
the same month, an answer was agreed upon, which re- 
flects the highest credit upon the heads and hearts of the 
Trustees. In it a most flattering, but entirely just tribute, 
is paid to the general character of Dr. Livingston, and 
especially to his zealous efforts in behalf of the Academy. 

Teachers of suitable qualifications were from time to 
time employed, to assist in the instruction of the pupils in 
the English and French languages. These we need not 
enumerate. On the 29th of June 1797, Dr. Wilson hav- 


ing been again called to the professorship of languages in 
Columbia College, resigned his post as chief teacher in 
the Academy. He appears, however, to have retained 
nominally, the office of Principal, until December 14th, 
1804, and during this interval, attended the semi-annual 
examinations, exercised a watchfulness over the institu- 
tion, and lent his aid in the procuring of suitable teach- 
ers. At his resignation, in 1797, he presented to the 
Trustees, the sum of £25, to be appropriated towards de- 
fraying the debts of the Hall. Mr. Albert Oblenis, was 
appointed First teacher, in the place of Dr. Wilson. He 
continued his connection with the institution, until the 
year 1806. In the year 1797, an attempt was made on 
behalf of the Trustees to obtain from the Legislature of 
the State the privilege of raising the sum of £1,200 by 
Lottery, with the view of liquidating their debt. A sim- 
ilar effort was made in the year 1809, but no law was 
passed by the Legislature for the purpose, and the project 
was abandoned. 

An arrangement having been effected by exchange of 
property, by which the Trustees of the Reformed Dutch 
Church of Flatbush came in possession of the lot of land 
on which the academy is erected, they, on the 29th day of 
December, in the year 1797, executed a lease of the same 
in perpetuity to the Trustees of Erasmus Hall, for a cer- 
tain consideration, which is named in the instrument. 

Dr. Wilson finding it inconvenient to hold the office of 
Principal of the Hall, resigned the same in the year 1804. 
His letter of resignation was received at a meeting of the 
board, held February 9th, 1805, when his resignation was 
accepted, and the Rev. Peter Lowe appointed Principal. 
A most respectful letter was addressed to Dr. Wilson on 
the part of the Trustees, and their acknowledgments ten- 
dered to him for his faithful services in the institution. 


A little previous to this, viz., in the year 1803, the vil- 
lage school was removed into the academy, and Mr. 
Patrick Noon the last schoolmaster who was employed 
in the old school house was discharged. From that time 
to the present, being a period of about thirty-nine years, 
the children of the village have been regularly taught in 
Erasmus Hall. 

The instruction in the Academy after the resignation 
of Dr. Wilson, continued to be conducted by Messrs. 
Oblenis and Schoonmaker. The latter gentleman* resigned 
in 1805, and was succeeded by Mr. Richard Fish. Adrian 
Hegeman, Cornelius Van Cleef and John Wyckoff, were 
assistant teachers about the same period. In the month 
of September, 1806, Mr. Oblenis resigned the office of 
First teacher. He was succeeded by Mr. Joab Cooper, 
who has since become extensively known as the editor of 
an edition of Virgil. He continued his connection with 
the Hall, for about two years; when upon his resigna- 
tion, Mr. Valentine Derry was appointed First teacher. 
In August 1809, Mr. Derry resigned, and was succeeded 
by Mr. Richard Whyte Thompson, who had charge of 
the institution for the next five years. Mr. Thompson 
was a man eminently qualified for this station. He was 
a thorough classical scholar, and possessed of eminent 
gifts for instruction. Under him the Academy rose again 
to considerable eminence, and many were taught by him 
who are now ornaments in the several professions. Dur- 
ing his connection with the Academy, a number of assist- 
ant teachers were in succession employed. They were 
John Brannon, Edward Cassidy, Ava Neal, Nicholas 
Morris, Adrian Hegeman, and some others. Mr. Thomp- 
son resigned his situation as First teacher, in December, 
1814. From this time forward, for a number of years. 


there were numerous changes in this department. Will' 
iam Thayre was appointed in December 1814. He was 
succeeded in 1815, by William Ironside. In 1816, Mr. 
Joab Cooper was again temporally employed; and in 
1817, Mr. Andrew Craig took charge of the institution. 
Mr. Craig resigned his situation in June 1819, in conse- 
quence of the feeble state of his health. On accepting 
his resignation, the board adopted the following minute: 

" In consequence of the high opinion entertained by the 
board in the talents and usefulness of Mr. Craig, as the 
able instructor of youth, and the valuable member of so- 
ciety, his resignation was accepted by the board with sen- 
timents of extreme regret." 

In August 1819, the Rev. Joseph Penney was chosen 
Principal of the Hall. He was associated with the Rev. 
John Mulligan. These gentlemen continued their con- 
nection with the Academy until the year 1821, when upon 
their resignation they were succeeded by the Rev. Timothy 
Clowes, D. D. He remained but about two years. 

In May 1823, the institution passed into the hands of 
Mr. Jonathan W. Kellogg, who continued to have charge 
of it till May 1834. During this period the Academy 
flourished. A large number of pupils from abroad were 
boarded in the Hall, and the Board of Trustees in 1825, 
were enabled to liquidate entirely the remains of the debt, 
under which the Academy had labored from its founda- 
tion. Upon his taking charge of the institution, Mr. Kel- 
logg divided the English, or common school department, 
into male and female, and employed separate instructors 
for each. Previously to this, the boys and girls were asso- 
ciated in one room, and taught by one teacher. The sep- 
aration introduced by Mr. Kellogg, and which was a very 
great improvement, has continued to this day. Not only 


separate and distinct apartments, but separate entrances 
have been provided for the males and females. The first 
Instructress under this new arrangement, was Miss Maria 
Jones. She was succeeded in 1829, by Miss Julia De 
Forest. She remained but about one year. Mrs. W. W. 
Maltby then taught for about six months, and was suc- 
ceeded in 1831, by Miss Almira Meach, who taught for 
two years. A short time previous to Mr. Kellogg's leav- 
ing the institution. Miss Rudd had charge of the female 
department, assisted by Miss Ely. The male assistants 
under Mr. Kellogg, were Jonathan B. Kidder, John Frey, 
Theodore Morrell, William Allgeo, William H. Campbell, 
Isaac Grier, J. W. Thompson, J. J. Prentice and some 
others. We need not specify the precise times, during 
which these gentlemen taught. Miss Geib, Miss Philo- 
mela RoUa, Miss Emma Gillingham, and some others, 
were employed in giving instruction in music. 

During the period in which Mr. Kellogg had charge of 
the Academy, many improvements were made to the build- 
ing and grounds. In the former, in addition to a front 
piazza, a full suit of dormitories was finished in the attic, 
besides other important changes. The campus, which was 
bare of trees and shrubbery, excepting two rows of decay- 
ing poplars extending in a diagonal direction, from the 
corners of the building to the road, was greatly improved. 
The heart, which lies in front of the entrance, was laid out 
and planted with flowers and shrubs. Besides the Balm of 
Gilead, in the centre of the heart, many ornamental forest 
trees, consisting of the tulip, the button ball and the sugar 
maple, together with a line of flowering shrubs, all around 
the front and sides, were set out. In addition to these, a 
row of button-ball trees was planted on the front walk. 


All these are now in a flourishing condition, and have 
added very greatly to the appearance of the Hall. 

In the winter of 1826-7, an additional wing, of fifty feet 
in depth and twenty-five in width, was added to the main 
building, for the accommodation of the schools. The cost 
of this was $1500, but in the course of about four or five 
years, this new debt was also paid. In May, 1834, the 
Rev. William H. Campbell, who had opened a select school 
in the village the previous year, took charge of the Insti- 
tution. Though his superior qualifications as a teacher 
are well known, it is due to him, to say that while he gave 
the highest satisfaction to his employers, he infused a de- 
sire in the bosoms of parents in the village, to give their 
children a liberal education, to a degree that had never 
before existed. During his connection with the Academy, 
the standard of education in the town was much raised. 
In consequence of feeling that it was his duty to return 
to the ministry, which he had been forced to leave, in 
consequence of impaired health, he resigned his office as 
Principal of the Hall, and left it in the spring of 1839. 

He had employed, as his assistants, John W. Thompson, 
James Campbell, C. B. Raymond, John Mc Alpin, John 
Skellie, Mark Hopkins Beecher, Jacob Gillet, Ambrose 
Leet; and as instructresses in the female department 
Anna F. Vose and Laura Mc Elwaine. 

On the 20th, of January, 1835, the Regents of the Uni- 
versity determined to establish a department for the in- 
struction of common school teachers in Erasmus Hall, in 
conformity with the provisions of an act of the Legis- 
lature, which had passed the previous session, which au- 
thorised the Regents to endow a department of this char- 
acter, in some one academy in each of the eight senatorial 


districts of the State. Erasmus Hall was chosen for the 
Southern District. The Trustees on the 10th, of Feb- 
ruary, 1835, agreed to accept the trust, and made all the 
necessary arrangements to carry out the views of the Leg- 
islature and of the Regents. It was soon found however, 
that in consequence of the high price of boarding in and 
about the city of ITew-York, the department would not be 
furnished with pupils. Only one or two applications were 
made, and the Trustees perceiving that it would be im- 
practicable to maintain such a department, with any de- 
gree of success, in the Southern District, did, on the 31st, 
of December, 1836, resign the trust; upon which, the 
Regents transferred the department for this district to the 
Salem Academy in Washington County. Mr. Campbell 
was succeeded as Principal, in May, 1839, by the Rev. Dr. 
Penney, late President of Hamilton College. He however 
continued in the Institution, as classical teacher for nine 
months longer. In addition to him. Dr. Penney employed 
Mr. Beecher, Mr. Rowle, Mr. Davenport, Mr. Willis and 
Mr. StoothoflF. The females were taught chiefly by Miss 
Mc Ilwaine and Miss Palmer. Dr. Penney continued in 
charge of the Hall until November, 1841, when James 
Ferguson, A. M. the present worthy incumbent, entered 
upon his duties, whose character and assistants are well 

Attached to Erasmus Hall, is a library, philosophical 
and chemical apparatus, and a mineralogical cabinet. 
The latter is not large, but yet contains a goodly variety 
of specimens. The apparatus, both philosophical and 
chemical, is not in a very good state of repair. Some of 
the articles are comparatively new, and in good order. 
But the greater part are quite old and need to be replaced 
by others. The library has gradually increased until it 


has attained a very respectable size. It was commenced 
together with the philosophical apparatus, by a liberal 
donation from the board of Regents of the University of 
the State, in the year 1791. By the prudent and efficient 
management of the Trustees, the library has been fostered 
and gradually enlarged, until at present it numbers fif- 
teen hundred and thirty-four volumes, and is the second 
academical library in size in the State. It is in general 
also well selected. It contains most of the standard au- 
thors in English Literature, and for history, will compare 
with any library of its size in the country. It affords not 
only the means of recreation to the pupils, but of sound 
and useful knowledge. The whole arrangements of the 
Hall, indeed, are now such, and have in fact almost al- 
ways been as to furnish to all who are connected with it, 
the opportunity of obtaining a good, substantial educa- 
tion, sufficient indeed, to give the promise of high stand- 
ing to those who may engage in any of the learned pro- 
fessions, and of usefulness and respectability, to such as 
may pursue the ordinary avocations of life. It is unques- 
tionably an institution of pre-eminent value to the village, 
and in fact, to all the surrounding country. We trust it 
will ever continue to flourish as one of the brightest orna- 
ments of the town, and be a healthful fountain from 
which shall flow forth many streams to fertilize and bless 
both the church and the State. 

Since the establishment of the Academy, several pri- 
vate schools have from time to time been set up in the 
village. Some of these were of a high classical character, 
and were for a season flourishing. But we need not now 
enumerate them. 

Connected with the literary history of the town, it is 
proper to state that about the year 1807, a very large 
printing-office was established in the village, by Mr. Isaac 


Eiley. This was located in the present elegant lawn of 
Matthew Clarkson, Esq. The edifice was planned by- 
Pope, the celebrated architect, and was put up at great 
cost. The establishment of Mr. Riley was very extensive. 
In connection with his printing-office he had a large bind- 
ery, at the head of which was Mr. James Olmstead. The 
printing department was superintended by Mr. Charles 
Wiley. In conducting the whole establishment, a large 
number of hands, male and female, were employed. It 
continued in operation for about seven years. The house 
was subsequently taken down, removed to Brooklyn, and 
rebuilt on the Heights opposite the city of New-York, 
where it is still standing. 

Some men of high literary attainment have been edu- 
cated in this place, and the remains of Richard Alsop one 
of the poets of America, lie entombed in the public ceme- 
tery. None of the inhabitants of the town, however, have 
devoted themselves exclusively to literary pursuits, and 
of course we cannot boast of any distinguished author. 
It is due to the memory of Mr. Alsop that we state the cir- 
cumstances of his death in this place. He came to Flat- 
bush in August 1815, to visit his sister, the wife of Mr. 
Riley. He had retired on a certain day to his room in 
the house now occupied by Mrs. Schoonmaker, and was 
subsequently found dead sitting in a chair by the window. 
It is presumed he had been struck with apoplexy. The 
tomb-stone which marks the place where his remains lie 
interred, bears the following inscription: — "In memory 
of Richard Alsop, Esq., of Middletown, Conn. Distin- 
guished by genius and poetical talents, respected for in- 
tegrity, and beloved for his amiable simplicity of charac- 
ter. He died suddenly, when on a visit to this place, on 
the 20th of August, 1815, aged fifty-four years." 




We would now turn back your attention to the era of 
the great struggle for American Independence. As the 
battle of Long-Island, which was the first contest in 
which the two great annies met, occurred in and about 
Flatbush, and as from that period it was the scene of 
more or less interest during the revolutionary war, it is 
proper that we should devote a separate space to this part 
of the history of the town. 

After the commencement of hostilities in the year 1776, 
the city of New-York in consideration of the advantages 
which from its location it would afford, was selected by 
the British as the first grand point to be obtained. The 
city was then in the possession of the Americans, under 
the command of General Washington, in person. In the 
latter part of June, 1776, the first division of the British 
army landed on Staten-Island, and was followed about 
the middle of July, by the grand armament under Lord 
Howe, consisting of six ships of the line, thirty frigates 
with smaller vessels, and a great number of transports, 
victuallers and ships with stores of ordnance. Lord Howe 
at that time, first attempted by what he conceived to be 
conciliatory measures, to bring back the American Colo- 


nies to their allegiance to King George. We need not 
detail these, as they are not immediately connected with 
our subject. We cannot, however, omit to notice, that on 
the 14th of July, he sent a flag to New- York, with a let- 
ter under the superscription of " George Washington, 
Esq.," Indignant that Lord Howe had not recognised 
his rank and title and his connection with the American 
Congress, Washington, very properly, refused to receive 
the letter, for which he was applauded by Congress as an 
act of becoming dignity. On the 20th of July, Lord 
Howe attempted a second time to open a correspondence 
with General Washington. He sent another letter by the 
hands of Adjutant General Patterson, addressed to 
'■ George Washington, &c. &c. &c." The General treated 
the Adjutant with all politeness, but notwithstanding all 
he could say, Washington refused to receive the letter, 
telling him, " it is true the et ceteras imply every thing, 
but it is no less true, they imply any thing." A noble 
answer to this repeated insult to himself and his coun- 
try, and a clear presage of the practical wisdom, courage 
and firmness of him to whom America, under God, had 
committed her cause. 

Not knowing at what point the British might make 
their first attack, Washington sought to fortify the city 
and obstruct the passage into the harbor of New- York. 
He also threw up certain fortifications in Brooklyn and 
Flatbush, to guard the approach to the city, by Long- 
Island. His army at this time, amounted to 17,225, of 
whom only 10,514, were fit for duty. These too, he says, 
in one of his letters, were little other than raw troops, and 
much scattered, some being fifteen miles apart. It soon 
became evident that the British meditated a landing on 
Long-Island. Troops were accordingly thrown over from 


the city of New- York, and extended in different posts 
from the highlands near the Narrows, to Wallaboght Bay. 
The command of all these posts had been entrusted to 
General Greene, who had studiously made himself ac- 
quainted with the location of all the surrounding country, 
so as to be able to defend the American army not only, 
but take all advantages which the various defiles would 
afford to attack the British. But unfortunately only a few 
days before the battle, General Greene was taken very 
sick, and the command devolved on General Putnam, who 
although one of the bravest of the brave, was not suffi- 
ciently acquainted with the face of the counti-y. Put- 
nam had two brigadiers under him. General Sullivan, who 
had command of the troops not immediately within the 
lines, and General Lord Stirling, who was stationed in 
and about Gowanus Bay and the Narrows. To prevent 
property falling into the hands of the British, an order 
was issued commanding the farmers on the west end of 
Long-Island, to drive away their cattle and take their 
grain which had just been harvested, from their barns and 
stack it in the fields, that it might be the more readily 
destroyed. Accordingly, all the cattle in Flatbush and 
the towns adjacent, were driven first as far east as the 
woods, in and about New-Lots, and subsequently into 
Queens County. Some of these were recovered, but great 
numbers of them were lost; the American Government, 
however, made honorable reparation for all such losses. 
The grain also, in conformity with the order, was 
taken out of the barns and put on stacks. Some of 
these were subsequently set on fire by the American 
army on their retreat, to prevent their falling into the 
hands of the British; but a few of these stacks of grain 
were saved, particularly those in the southern section of 
the village. 


An entrenchment was thrown up in Flatbush across 
the road leading through the village, a little south of the 
present residence of Judge Martense. It was in the form 
of something like a half moon, lying diagonally across 
the road, and extending on the land of Lefferts Martense 
on the west, and of Isaac Cortelyou on the east — ^having 
a ditch of sufficient depth on the north. A small redoubt 
on which a few pieces of artillery were mounted, was 
also put up at the Valley-Grove, to guard the passage 
through the port road, and by the direct route to 
Brooklyn. Here stood a large white oak tree, mentioned 
in the patent of Governor Dongan, as one of the bound- 
ary lines of the town of Flatbush. This was cut down 
and thrown across the road; and in consequence of the 
then dense woods on the south, and the swamp on the 
north, it formed a very considerable abattis. The late 
Mr. Simon Voris assisted in cutting down this tree. 

During this time, preparations were making by the 
British, to effect a landing on Long-Island. They were 
frequently visited by persons from the shore and surround- 
ing towns, who no doubt gave them every information con- 
cerning the positions of the American army, and furnished 
materials for a draft of the whole adjacent country; for 
they were well acquainted with the position of the hills, 
and the three roads or defiles by which they could be 
passed. On the 22d day of August, a landing was effected 
by the British troops at Bath, under cover of the guns of 
their fleet, without opposition. Gen. Howe established his 
headquarters at New-Utrecht. The American troops who 
were stationed along the coast, consisting of a regiment 
of Pennsylvanians under Col. Hand, retired to Flatbush, 
with the view of guarding the principal pass to Brooklyn. 
Lord Cornwallis pushed on immediately with the reserve 


and some other forces to the same place, but finding the 
Americans strongly entrenched, and the pass through by 
the port or Valley Grove defended, in compliance with 
his orders he did not risk any attack. In the meantime 
the inhabitants of the town had generally forsaken it. We 
who have been so long accustomed to the sweets of peace 
know but little of the consternation occasioned by an ap- 
proaching invading army. The inhabitants had reason to 
apprehend that should they remain at home they would 
be cruelly treated, and perhaps massacred. They were 
regarded as rebels, to whom but little quarter would be 
shown. Hence as expeditiously as possible after the land- 
ing of the British troops, the inhabitants of the village 
either sent or carried off the females and children, pro- 
viding them with what little furniture and conveniences 
they could. Some were sent to ISTew- Jersey, but the 
greater proportion took refuge in Queens County. It was 
a scene of great confusion, and of no ordinary distress. 
Compelled to leave their homes and the greater part of 
their property, and not knowing what might befal their 
persons or their families, they committed themselves to 
the good providence of their God. Some had not gone 
far before they saw the smoke ascending from the neigh- 
borhood of their farms, and knew not but their dwellings 
were already in flames. With one family, indeed, this was 
the case. The American riflemen, on the approach of the 
British towards the evening of the 22d, set fire to many 
of the stacks of grain, particularly in the northern part 
of the town, and also fired the house of Peter Lefferts. 
Other houses in that section of the village were also burnt, 
but not at that time, of which we shall presently speak. 

The main body of the American troops stationed in about 
Flatbush, then retired to the woods on the north of the 


town. The Britisli army then under command of Lord 
Cornwallis, took post at Flatbush. They encamped in a 
diagonal direction across the village. Their tents extended 
from the little lane over the farms of Hendrick Vander- 
veer, of J. C. Bergen, of Jacobus Vandeventer, and so on, 
in a northeasterly line towards the road leading to New- 
Lots. The main body however, were on the south of the 
church and west of the main street. They soon possessed 
themselves of the intrenchment which had been thrown 
up by the Americans, in the north of the village. To de- 
fend themselves against an expected attack from the 
American troops, who, from the woods, kept up a scattered 
firing, they knocked out large port holes in the house of 
Adrian Hegeman, which stood on the spot where Mrs. 
Cynthia Lefferts is now living. This house was built of 
stone, and the object of making the holes in the wall, was 
to enable them to fire their cannon at the Americans un- 
der cover. The house of Mr. Lefferts Martense, on the 
opposite side of the road, was also taken possession of, and 
prepared as a sort of fortification. It was built of wood, 
fronting south, and having a roof on the north side, which 
extended to within a few feet of the ground. In this roof 
they cut many holes, through which they could discharge 
their muskets. Still farther to defend themselves, or 
rather to render their firing upon the Americans more ef- 
fective, they set fire to the houses which stood between 
them and the woods, and from behind which, often the 
American riflemen would discharge their guns, to the no 
small annoyance and injury of the British. These houses 
were those of Jeremiah Vanderbilt and Leffert Lefferts, on 
the west, and Evert Hegeman, on the east side of the road. 
On what day these were burnt we know not, but they were 
destroyed by the British, probably on the second or third 
day after their encampment in this place. 


On the first or second evening of their arrival in Flat- 
bush, a drunken revel took place among the British. 
In rifling the houses, they were directed by John Rubel, 
to a quantity of wine, which had been left in the house 
of Mr. David Clarkson, who lived in the dwelling now 
occupied by Mr. J. C. Bergen. Mr. Clarkson was a 
strong whig, and after they had vented their spite at him, 
and his principles, by destroying his furniture, and abus- 
ing his premises in a shameful manner, their attention 
was called, under the direction of their guide, to his 
wines. These, the greater part of which were specially 
imported and were very choice, Mr. Clarkson had bottled 
and stored away in an upper apartment, in the wing of 
his house, and had built up a partition to conceal them. 
Bubel had seen this, and was well acquainted with the 
store thus concealed, and being friendly to the British 
cause, he gave them information of the fact, and actually 
guided and assisted them on the occasion. The wine and 
other liquor was of course procured, and the officers and 
men indulged freely in the use of it. The back piazza 
and yard of Mr. Clarkson's house, exhibited a complete 
drunken frolic. Had the Americans indeed been aware of 
the situation of the British at this time, a very serious 
check might have been put to their advance, if not their 
whole plan subverted. 

The Hessian troops under General de Heister, having 
landed on the 25th, were sent forward on the same day to 
Flatbush, to compose the centre of the army. The plan 
of attack was now fixed. The right wing of the English 
army was committed to Major General Grant, and was de- 
signed to operate against the left wing of the Americans, 
under Lord Stirling. The centre was committed to Gen- 
eral de Heister, and was to attempt the pass defended by 


General Sullivan, at the Port, while the left wing of the 
British under General Clinton and Lords Percy and Corn- 
wallis, were, by a circuitous route to reach the right wing 
of the American army, which was under command of Colo- 
nel Miles, and stationed a little to the eastward of Bed- 
ford, on the Jamaica road. The principal hope of success 
was upon this wing. The plan was well laid, and proved 
successful. It was, that while General Grant and the Hes- 
sians of General De Heister should disquiet and divert 
the Americans on the right and in the centre, the left wing 
should surprise them by a circuitous route, and thus fall 
upon them in the flank and rear. The English hoped that 
as this post was the most distant from the centre of the 
army, the advanced guards would there be found more 
feeble, and perhaps more negligent, and that at all events, 
they would not be able to defend themselves against a 
force so superior, as this right wing of the English, was 
very numerous and entirely composed of select troops. Nor 
did they judge incorrectly. In order to put this plan thus 
wisely formed, into execution, on the evening of the 26th, 
of August, about 9 o'clock. General Clinton commanding 
the van guard, which consisted of light infantry: Lord 
Percy the centre, where were found the grenadiers, the ar- 
tillery and cavalry, and Lord Cornwallis the rear guard, 
followed by the baggage, some regiments of infantry 
and of heavy artillery, moved from Flatbush, with ad- 
mirable silence and order towards Flatlands. They were 
seen by Captain Cornelius Vanderveer, who stated, that 
although he was near the fence fronting his house, on the 
road, he could scarcely hear them. With such silence and 
order did this large body of men move, being covered by 
the darkness of the night. They were on this occasion aided 
by certain guides, who conducted them till they reached 


the point of attack. These were ;N'******* '^***^Ht****^ 
J**** W*^****, and J******* j^***** It has been said 
in defence of the conduct of these persons, that they were 
forced to act in this capacity, and that their lives were at 
stake. This may all be, but their agency on this occa- 
sion was most disastrous to the American cause. The 
■British had as we have intimated, drafts of the country. 
They marched to Flatlands village, then took the road 
leading to Flatlands neck, and came out at Shoemakers 
Bridge. Here N. W. their chief guide at this place, was 
expressly cautioned, that if he led them wrong he would 
be shot. He appears to have conducted them from this 
spot across the fields to what is now called Howard's. 
They arrived two hours before day, on the morning of the 
27th, within half a mile of the Jamaica road. Colonel 
Miles, of Pennsylvania, who had charge of the right wing 
of the American army this night, performed his service 
with but little exactness, and did not perceive the ap- 
proach of the enemy. They had marched several miles, 
and were now in fact two miles in the rear of his guard, 
without his being knowing to the fact. I^or had General 
Sullivan, who had charge of all the troops in advance 
of the camp at Brooklyn, any advice of what was pass- 
ing in this quarter. One of his patrols, on horseback, had 
been fallen in with by General Clinton during the night, 
and made prisoners. But though disappointed in not 
hearing from this patrol. General Sullivan neglected to 
send out fresh scouts, probably expecting that the Eng- 
lish would direct their principal efforts against the right 
wing, under Lord Sterling, as that was nearest to their 
head quarters. Thus he suffered the American army to 
be surprised, and almost before the battle commenced, the 
fate of the day determined. General Clinton having 


halted for a few hours, and refreshed his troops, and 
learning from the prisoners whom he took, that the road 
to Jamaica was not guarded, hastened to avail himself of 
the circumstance, and occupied it by a rapid movement. 
Without loss of time, he immediately bore to his left, 
towards Bedford, and seized an important defile, which 
the Americans had left unguarded. From this moment 
the success of the day was decided in favor of the Eng- 
lish. Lord Percy came up with his corps, and the entire 
column descended by the village of Bedford, into the 
more level ground, which lay between the hills and the 
camp of the Americans. 

In the mean time. General Grant, in order to divert the 
Americans from the events which took place upon the 
route through Flatlands, and the attack to be made on 
their left wing, endeavored to disquiet them on his right. 
Accordingly, about midnight, as if he meant to force his 
way through, he put himself in motion and attacked the 
militia of New- York and Pennsylvania, who were sta- 
tioned along the Gowanus road. They at first gave way, 
but General Parsons, who had command of them, having 
arrived, and having occupied an eminence, renewed the 
combat, and maintained his position until Brigadier Gen- 
eral Lord Stirling came to his assistance with fifteen hun- 
dred men. The action was extremely animated, and vic- 
tory favored neither the one side nor the other. But it 
was all in vain, as in fact, the choice of the British army 
were already in the rear of the American troops on the 
left. As soon as firing was heard from the right wing of 
the English, under General Clinton, who, as we have 
stated, had now gained possession of Bedford, which was 
not long after the break of day, on the 27th, General De 
Heister with his Hessian troops, moved forward with the 


centre of the army from Flatbusli, and commenced an at- 
tack upon the line in command of General Sullivan. The 
attack was valiantly sustained by General Sullivan, in 
person, but they soon found that their situation was very 
critical, for General Clinton fell upon their left flank, and 
they now discovered to their great surprise, that they were 
in fact surrounded by the enemy. As soon as they were 
apprised of their danger, they sounded a retreat, and re- 
tired in good order towards their camp, bringing off their 
artillery. But the royal troops, under General Clinton, 
who occupied the ground on their rear, charged them 
furiously. They were compelled to throw themselves back 
into the neighboring woods, lying between Flatbush and 
Brooklyn. Here they met again with the Hessians, who 
repulsed them upon the English, and thus they were 
driven several times by the one against the other, with 
great loss. They continued for some time in this desper- 
ate situation, till at length, several regiments animated 
by an heroic valor, opened their way through the midst 
of the enemy, and gained the camp of General Putnam, 
at Brooklyn: some few escaped through the woods, but 
the remainder, together with their commander. General 
Sullivan, were made prisoners. 

The left wing and centre of the Americans being dis- 
comfited, the English, to secure a complete victory, made 
a rapid movement against the rear of the right wing, 
which in ignorance of what had befallen the other corps, 
was engaged w^ith General Grant. As soon as they re- 
ceived the intelligence of this disaster, they retired. But 
now they encountered the English, who had cut off their 
retreat. They had been engaged from 8 o'clock in the 
morning, until 2 o'clock in the afternoon, in maintaining 
their post and charging the enemy. On ascertaining their 


perilous situation, they were greatly disconcerted. Some 
of these brave men betook themselves to the woods. But 
a large number of them endeavored to make their way to 
the camp at Brooklyn, through the marshes and mill- 
ponds of Gowanus Cove. Unfortunately many of them 
were here drowned or perished in the mud: a very small 
number only escaped the hot pursuit of the victors, and 
reached the camp in safety. Lord Stirling himself, who 
had charge of this wing, was taken prisoner. Almost the 
entire regiment of Maryland, under Colonel Smallwood, 
consisting of young men of the best families in that prov- 
ince, was cut to pieces. No less than two hundred and 
fifty nine men of this regiment were destroyed. 

The fate of the battle was now decided. The total loss 
of the Americans in killed, wounded and prisoners, ac- 
cording to Dr. Gordon, was about fifteen hundred, but 
some have estimated the loss as high as three thousand. 
Among the prisoners, besides the two Generals whom 
we have mentioned, were many ofiicers of high rank. 
The unfortunate issue of this battle, was doubtless to be 
ascribed in part to the illness of General Greene. He 
had superintended the erection of the works, and was 
thoroughly acquainted with the ground. In hope of his 
recovery. General Washington had deferred sending over 
a successor, till the urgency of affairs rendered it abso- 
lutely necessary, and then General Putnam took the com- 
mand, without any previous knowledge of the posts be- 
yond the lines which had been fortified, or of the passes 
by which the enemy could make their approach. Nor had 
he the time to acquire this knowledge before the action. 
Had General Greene been on the ground, all the roads 
or passes would have been so secured and defended as 
that the royal army in attempting or gaining them, 


would have been so crippled as to have been arrested with 
regard to all future successful operations. General Sulli- 
van was also too inattentive and confident. He exercised 
no watchfulness over the tories and royalists, who were 
around him, but suffered them to go back and forth as 
they pleased. One of the American Chaplains, fearing 
that the British would make a circuitous march and take 
to the Jamaica road, asked him whether he had suffi- 
ciently guarded that pass, when Sullivan replied, in his 
vain confidence, " Yes : so that an angel cannot force it ; " 
and yet to his neglect in this particular, the whole disas- 
ters of the day are to be attributed. 

The British after this victory encamped in front of the 
American lines, and on the 28th, and 29th, frequent skir- 
mishes occurred between the two armies. At length, on 
the 29th, Washington, at the suggestion of General Mif- 
flin, who had been on Long-Island, and knew the situa- 
tion of the troops, called a council of war, and a retreat 
was agreed upon, General Mifflin offering to command 
the rear. This was a wise council, inasmuch, as in front 
of the army was a numerous and victorious enemy, with a 
formidable train of artillery. The British fleet indicated 
an intention to pass up the East River, and cut off all hope 
of a retreat. The troops at Brooklyn were lying without 
shelter from heavy rains, and were moreover, fatigued and 
dispirited. This difficult movement was effected with 
great skill and judgment, and with complete success. We 
should be glad had we time, to narrate all the circum- 
stances connected with it. But we can only give a very 
general account of it. After dark, on the evening of the 
29th, orders were received and communicated to the several 
regiments, to hold themselves in readiness for an attack 
upon the enemy, to take place in the course of the night. 


This excited much speculation among the officers, who 
knew not the immediate design, and no little concern 
among the soldiers, whose arms were much injured from 
exposure to the rain. The embarkation of the troops was 
committed to General Mc Dougal. It was to commence 
at 8 o'clock, in the evening, but a strong north east wind 
and a rapid tide, caused a delay of several hours. At 11 
o'clock, the wind sprung up from the south west, which 
greatly favoured the enterprize, as it enabled them to use 
the sail boats, which they had, as well as the barges. 
Providence further interposed in favor of the retreating 
army, by sending a thick fog about 2 o'clock in the morn- 
ing, (August 30th,) which hung over Long-Island, while 
on New- York side, it was clear. The fog and wind con- 
tinued to favor the retreat till the whole army, nine thou- 
sand in number, with all the field artillery, such heavy 
ordnance as was of most value, ammunition, provisions, 
horses, cattle, &c, were safely over. The water was so re- 
markably smooth as to admit of the row boats being 
loaded within a few inches of the gunnel. General Wash- 
ington, though often entreated, would not leave the Island 
till General Mifflin with his covering party, left the lines 
at about 6 o'clock on the morning of the 30th. The se- 
crecy and skill, with which the whole movement was ef- 
fected, may be conceived, from the fact that the enemy 
were so nigh, that the sound of their pickaxes and shovels 
were distinctly heard by the Americans. Only about half 
an hour after the lines were finally abandoned, the fog 
cleared off, and the British were seen taking possession of 
the American works. Four boats were on the river, three 
half way over, full of troops: the fourth, within reach 
of the enemies fire from the shore, was compelled to 
return. But she had only three men in her, who had tar- 


ried behind to plunder. The whole army was safely 
landed on the north side of the river, and never was there 
a retreat better conducted, or a more signal interposition 
of a kind providence. Had not the wind changed, not 
more than half of the army could possibly have crossed, 
and the remainder must have fallen, with all the artillery 
and stores, into the hands of the English. And had it 
not been for the fog, their movements would all have been 
discovered in time, greatly to have discomfited them. 

But we must now return to Flatbush. Here, after the 
battle, were many American prisoners. Lord Cornwallis 
appears to have established himself for a little while at 
least, in the place. Among the prisoners taken previous to, 
and during the battle, was Cornelius Vanderveer, the father 
of the present John C. Vanderveer, Esq. He was the cap- 
tain of the militia of the town of Flatbush. Having sent 
off his family to New-Jersey, he attempted to secure his 
furniture, while he remained in and about his premises. 
He had hid his arms and accoutrements in a thicket, near 
the house, and having observed on a certain evening how 
the guards and pickets of the British were placed, he went 
in the dead of the night, accompanied by a faithful ser- 
vant, called Adam, to regain them. They approached the 
place where they were concealed, by a circuitous route, 
and having possessed himself of his arms, he put them on, 
the more easily to carry them. He then proposed to his 
colored man, to take a nearer and more direct route back. 
But in doing so, he came unexpectedly upon a guard, 
which had been placed after dark, in a position of which 
he was not aware. The consequence was, that he was 
made a prisoner, and being taken with his accoutre- 
ments on, and his arms in his hands, he had not much 
mercy to expect. He was carried to the captain of the 


guard. Here he was told by several, that there was no 
hope for him, he must be hung, and they actually put the 
rope around his neck. In the morning he was taken to 
the church, before Lord Cornwallis, who sent him with 
some others, under guard to JSTew-Utrecht, where he was 
confined in a barn, with a number of other prisoners. 
Here he was in various ways basely treated and insulted. 
But while there, a Captain Miller, with whom he had been 
on terms of intimacy, happened to pass by, and inquired 
of him how he came there, and after being informed of 
his case, he said he would try and effect his release. A few 
minutes after, a file of soldiers came and took him before 
one of General Howe's Aids, by the name of Cuyler, who 
was from Albany, who inquired and questioned him about 
his situation. He asked him if he would take a protection 
and go home on his farm. Captain Vanderveer answered 
that he would, provided they would not compel him to 
fight against his country. Cuyler replied, with an oath, 
that they had fighting men enough, but as he had prom- 
ised him a protection, he would give him one. He pre- 
sented it to him accordingly, and said he might go to the 
rebels again, for what he cared. Captain Vanderveer took 
the protection and remained on his farm, but was abused 
and robbed by the Hessians, who paid no respect to his 
protection, and took the last shirt he had from his back, 
so that he was compelled to walk about with an old great 
coat, which he found, to cover his nakedness, until he 
could get other clothes. His faithful colored man Adam, 
continued with him all the while. 

Flatbush was now in the hands of the British, and con- 
tinued within their lines until the close of the war. During 
the short tarry of the army in the village, they committed 
many depredations. They pillaged the houses and de- 


stroyed as much property as they well could. It was sad 
indeed to the inhabitants to witness this on re-visiting 
their homes. As soon as the British had taken possession 
of New- York, and the army had left the Island, the in- 
habitants of Flatbush began to return. Some were absent 
only a few days, but others did not reach their homes 
until nearly mid-winter. The scene presented to the view 
of those who came back soon after the battle, was distress- 
ing indeed. The place where the encampment had been, 
was strewed with feathers, straw, papers and pieces of 
furniture, which had been taken from the houses. In the 
street, which was grown over with high grass, in conse- 
quence of the frequent rains, which occurred at that time, 
and the interruption of nearly all travelling, were to be 
seen, in addition other things, skins of hogs, which had 
been slain, and heads of cattle, with their horns on them, 
presenting a frightful picture of the haste and waste 
which had characterized the army. On visiting their 
houses, they found the greater part of their furniture 
broken and almost every thing valuable about their prem- 
ises injured. So wanton had been the waste, that feather 
beds had not only been ripped up, and the contents scat- 
tered, but in some instances the feathers had been emptied 
into wells. The best rooms in the houses had been used 
as stables for the horses, while the drawers in their cup- 
boards and bureaus had served as mangers and feeding 
troughs. As we may well suppose, the whole town exhib- 
ited a scene of wide spread desolation. 

On their return the males were obliged to take the oath 
of allegiance to the British crown. This most of them did. 
It was administered in the church. It may be here asked, 
why did they not join the American army and fight in be- 
half of the country. The answer to this question is found 


in the fact, that all their property — their families and 
their homes were in the hands of the British. By return- 
ing and submitting to their authority, they would be able 
to preserve these from destruction; whereas, had they 
connected themselves with the American army, no doubt 
every thing they had on the earth would have been swept 
from them, a sacrifice which we believe few, if any, made 
during that eventful struggle. But we are not to sup- 
pose that there were no friends of the American cause at 
that time, and during the war, in Flatbush. We shall 
presently see that in a most important way they aided in 
achieving our national independence. 

After the battle on Long-Island, the church and the old 
school-house were used for the accommodation of the pris- 
oners and the sick. Three private houses were also em- 
ployed as hospitals. The house now occupied by Mr. J. 
C. Bergen, the house belonging to the heirs of Cornelius 
Antonides, and the dwelling of Mr. Rem Vanderbilt. In 
this latter house, in which Mr. Seymour now resides, and 
which then stood on the opposite side of the road, the 
wounded American officers were brought. The principal 
hospital for the soldiers was the old school-house. Many 
of these wounded prisoners appear soon to have died; for 
when one individual returned, who was absent but thir- 
teen days, she counted twenty-eight new graves in the 
churchyard, and it is probable that most of these con- 
tained more than one body. 

After the capture of Fort Washington, which took place 
in November of this same year, (1776,) a great number 
more prisoners were brought to Flatbush, and billetted on 
the inhabitants. It is supposed that no less than four 
hundred were kept in the southern towns of Kings County. 


The only regiment left in Flatbush after the battle, was 
42d Regiment of Highlanders. They however soon re- 
moved, and were succeeded by a guard of fifty men under 
Lieut. Dalrymple. These continued for some time, when 
upon their removal. Col. Axtell, who resided in the house 
now owned by Mr. Mowatt, and who was a violent Tory, 
collected a company called the Nassau Blues. The com- 
mand of this was committed to his nephew Capt. De- 
peyster. They appear to have been taken from the lowest 
ranks, and were mostly persons of bad moral character. 
Col. Axtell wished that they should be united with the 
militia of the town, but the militia opposed it, and would 
by no means give their consent to such a measure. These 
Nassau Blues, from their low and generally miserable 
appearance, were nicknamed by the inhabitants the 
"Nasty Blues." They were not billetted upon the town, 
but had possession chiefly of the court-house. Of so bad 
a character were they, that in their blasphemy, they called 
themselves "the Holy Ghosters." 

After the return of the inhabitants of Flatbush to their 
houses, in the fall of 1776, an epidemic broke out among 
them, arising as was supposed from the effluvia connected 
with the Hessian and British encampment, and which in 
consequence was called the camp-fever. It seized great 
numbers, and proved fatal to many; and among others, 
to some of the most respectable and influential persons in 
the town. 

We should be glad to furnish a list of all the American 
prisoners who were billetted in Flatbush during the war, 
particularly the names of the officers, but this is impos- 
sible. Among the latter were Gen. Silliman, Col. Raw- 
lings, Col. Magaw, Col. Miles, Col. Atlee, Col. (after- 


wards Gen.) Williams, Col. Barby, Capts. Fitzhugli Ran- 
dolph, Bailey, Biles, Patton, the subsequent Postmaster 
of Philadelphia, and a number of others. But we cannot 
forbear a special notice of Major David Lenox. He was 
billetted upon Mr. Bateman Lloyd. During his residence 
as a prisoner, he was visited by his brothers Robert and 
William, with a view to bring him to abandon the Ameri- 
can cause. They tried every motive, and pressed him by 
considerations the most tender. The interview was had 
under the large linden-tree near the house. On their 
leaving him, he was met by the present Mrs. Lloyd, who 
observing him to be bathed in tears, asked what was the 
cause of his distress. He told her that his brothers had 
been endeavoring to prevail with him to forsake the 
Americans and join the British. But said he with Ro- 
man firmness, " I will never do it." 

The circumstances which led to the removal of Major 
Lenox from Flatbush, show his noble daring and firmness, 
and at the same time the spirit of oppression which distin- 
guished the ofiicers of the British army. The news of the 
capture of Burgoyne in 1777, having reached the American 
prisoners paroled on Long-Island, Major James Hamilton 
and Dr. Stewart repaired to Flatbush to celebrate together 
with Major Lenox an event so propitious to the cause of 
their country, and so congenial to their best hopes and 
most sanguine wishes. The night was passed at the festive 
board, but their conduct was in no way calculated to of- 
fend; no extravagant symptom of exultation was shown, 
for boistering mirth would have degraded a feeling of de- 
light, silent but sincere. In the morning, a fish-car filled 
with shad, passing through the village, Major Lenox asked 
the proprietor if he would sell a part of his load : " not to 


a rebel scoundrel," he replied, " though he be starving." 
The offensive answer was no sooner given than resented. 
Major Lenox struck the speaker to the earth. A fray was 
the inunediate consequence, in which the American offi- 
cers, as might have been expected, were overpowered and 
severely beaten. But this was not the last of their suffer- 
ings. Charged with an assault and conducted upon the 
testimony of their adversary, before General Pigot, Major 
Lenox, in a plain unvarnished representation of facts, 
stated the provocation, and asked " if it were possible to 
have withheld punishment from a rascal, who so wantonly 
sought and so richly deserved it." "It is our business," 
replied the General, " to protect and cherish such of your 
countrymen as seek our protection. You must submit 
therefore to ask pardon for the outrage committed, or take 
the consequences that must inevitably follow." " Ask par- 
don of that scoundrel," said Lenox, " never " ! " Will you, 
sir," said the General to Hamilton : " May I perish if I 
do," was the reply. The question was then put to Dr. 
Stewart, and answered with equal indignation. " You must 
be introduced then," said the irritated General, " to the 
Provost Marshall. Mr. Cunningham, they are your pris- 
oners, you know your duty." Six months of close and 
rigorous confinement in the Provost, (a place of misery, 
second only to the celebrated prison ship, Jersey,) was 
the consequence of an act, that a generous enemy would 
not only have thought just, but commendable. 

The American prisoners had the liberty of all the 
southern towns. They were required to report themselves 
at certain times and places. When the French fleet, un- 
der Count De Estaing was expected, and when after their 
arrival they laid off the shore, these prisoners went daily 


to the top of Vanderbilts hill, to view them. And with 
regard to this hill, we may remark, in passing, that Gen- 
eral Clinton, once rode down it so rapidly, that his Aids 
could not follow him. 

Among the prisoners in the county was Capt. William 
Marriner. He was quartered on parole, at Mr. Rem Van 
Pelt's, at New-Utrecht. In the exercise of his privilege, 
he often visited Flatbush. Dr. Van Buren's tavern, the 
house now occupied by Durj^ee Wiggins, was a place of 
great resort. Here he met among others, with the lead- 
ing tories in the place. These were Colonel Axtell, Colo- 
nel Matthews, the Mayor of JSTew-York, Major Sherbrook, 
Mr. Beach and Major Moncrief. On one occasion, prob- 
ably in consequence of the too free use of his sarcastic 
wit, he was insulted and ill treated by this clan, particu- 
larly by Major Moncrief. After Captain Marriner's ex- 
change, in 1780, he determined to visit Flatbush, and 
capture, if possible, all these abusive tories, who were 
very obnoxious to the American officers. He was a brave 
and daring man. For the purpose of carrying his design 
into execution, he repaired to New-Brunswick, and pro- 
cured a whaleboat, which he manned with twerity two 
volunteers. With this he crossed the bay, and landed at 
Bath, about half-past nine o'clock in the evening. He 
made prisoners of three black men, who were fishing, and 
then leaving two persons in charge of his boat, he marched 
off with the rest of his party towards Flatbush. On his 
way, he stopped at the house of Rem Van Pelt, his old 
quarters, and also at his father's, in consequence of 
which, these persons were afterwards apprehended and 
confined in Provost, in New- York, on suspicion of being 
concerned with him. Marriner reached the Flatbush 
church without molestation. Here he divided his men into 


four squads, assigning a house to each. Each party had a 
heavy post, for the purpose of breaking in the doors. The 
village was all silence. The houses were all known, and 
it was agreed, that when the party detached for Colonel 
Axtell, whose dwelling was farthest from the church, 
struck his door, each party should do the same at the other 
houses. Captain Marriner selected the house of George 
Martense, the father of the present Mrs. Catin, where his 
friend Major Moncrief quartered for himself. Time was 
given for the parties to arrive at their several houses, and 
then, at the concerted signal, the doors were all burst 
open, nearly at the same time. The first stroke at the 
door where Major Moncrief resided, alarmed him, and he 
fled to the garret, and hid himself behind the chimney. 
" I entered his room," says Marriner, " and finding his bed 
warm, I ordered aunt Jannetie to bring a candle. We 
ran to the garret and found our prize shivering behind 
the large Dutch chimney, with his breeches in his hands. 
We took him to the church, our place of rendezvous, 
where we put on his small clothes." Mr. or Major Beach, 
who resided in the house lately vacated by Mr. Michael 
Schoonmaker, was also seized, as well as Colonel Sher- 
brook, who lived in the old house belonging to Garret 
Martense, Esq. which stood in front of Mr. Seymour's, 
and has been divided as we have heretofore stated, and 
made into two small bams. But Colonel Axtell and Colo- 
nel Matthews, the mayor of New-York, who resided in 
the house belonging to Jacobus Vandeventer, which stood 
where the dwelling of Judge Lott now stands, escaped, in 
consequence of their being that night in New- York. The 
several parties having assembled again at the church, they 
marched off with their prisoners, unmolested to their boat, 


although it was a fine moon-light night, in the middle of 
summer. In his account of the matter, Captain Marriner 
says, that Dom. Rubell rung the alarm bell, before we 
were half a mile from the church, and Dr. Van Samper, 
who lived at Mr. Martense's, sung out, " Goedt luck, 
Goedt luck: not me, not me." The spirits called from 
their sleep by the alarm bell, did not pursue Captain Mar- 
riner, and he arrived safe at his boat, and carried his 
distinguished prisoners to ISTew-Brunswick. Time will 
not permit us to pursue this affair farther, and give an 
account of the taking up and imprisoning of certain per- 
sons in New-Utrecht, on suspicion of being connected with 
Marriner in the enterprize.* 

The inhabitants of Flatbush during the war, particu- 
larly those who were supposed to be in favor of the Amer- 
ican cause were subject to a variety of exactions from the 
British authorities. Their property too was often stolen, 
cattle were taken from the fields, hogs from their pens, 
and horses from their stalls. The hen roosts were fre- 
quently robbed, and almost every kind of plundering and 
thieving committed. When horses were wanted by the 
British for any service, they were seized without cere- 
mony. On one occasion. Colonel L***, of Flatlands, at- 
tempted to take the horses of Captain Vanderveer, while 
he was ploughing with them in the field. The Captain 

* In the account heretofore published of this incident, the name of 
Major Moncrief does not appear, while Colonel Sherbrook is repre- 
sented as the principal object of capture by Marriner. But this is incor- 
rect. It was Major Moncrief who had principally insulted him, and 
he was the person whom he desired chiefly to take. The account 
given above, contains the true statement of the whole affair. 


refused to give up his horses, and showed his protection, 
and orders from Captain Dalrymple. This so disconcerted 
the Colonel, that he was quite enraged, and in a violent 
manner exclaimed, " You, Flatbushers are always med- 
dling." He went then and seized the horses of Judge 
Lott and of Judge Vanderbilt, who had no protection. 

During the greater part of the war, a guard was kept 
up in the village. For a considerable time this was done 
by the militia of the town. The object was, not so much 
to watch the prisoners, as to detect sailors and stragglers, 
who would leave their vessels off the beach and come 
through the village, on their way to New- York, for the 
purpose of escaping being taken by the press-gang, who 
were coasting on the waters, in and about the city. The 
guard detailed for duty consisted usually of seven, of 
whom two were sent out on patrol. Several amusing anec- 
dotes occurred relative to this guard, but we have not 
room to narrate them. 

In 1781, a regiment of new recruits, under Colonel Hew- 
lett, raised chiefly in Queens County, came to Flatbush 
and were billetted on the inhabitants. After these, a 
regiment who had been taken prisoners in the West-In- 
dies, from Waldeck in Germany, commanded by Colonel 
De Horn, were sent to the place, and billetted upon the in- 
habitants to a certain extent. They were obliged to find 
them quarters, but not provisions. The officers had their 
own rooms, and the soldiers generally occupied the kitch- 
ens of the houses. This regiment behaved well ; no depre- 
dations were committed by them. We cannot refrain 
from giving an account of one of them. His name was 
Raymond. He was desirous of joining the American 
army; for this purpose he deserted, and at great risk, got 


on board of an American merchant ship, — unfortunately 
for poor Raymond, this ship was soon captured by the 
British, and the deserter was sent back to Flatbash to his 
regiment. A court-martial was held upon his case, and 
he was sentenced to pass through the gantlet, as it was 
called, ten times, and each time to be whipped. He was 
prepared with bare back accordingly, and the regiment 
being arranged in open file, poor Raymond passed with a 
file of soldiers before him to prevent his going faster than 
such a gait, through the long line, while every man on 
either side was required to give him a cut with a whip. 
At the end of each turn, a sergeant passed through the 
line with a fresh supply of whips, and every soldier drew 
from the bunch a new. rod, with which more severely to 
punish Raymond. This was enacted ten times — and one 
would have supposed that at the end of it, Raymond would 
have fallen down dead. His back, as might have been sup- 
posed, was dreadfully lacerated, almost every whip draw- 
ing blood ; but as if by a miracle, the poor fellow survived, 
and eventually got well. But all this whipping did not 
drive out of him a love to the American cause. He de- 
termined again to desert; but before doing so, wished to 
revenge himself by killing his Colonel. But his associ- 
ates would not agree with him in this undertaking. He 
however, with some few others, eventually deserted and 
got safely within the American lines, and on visiting 
Philadelphia and making his story known, he was treated 
with such signal attention, as almost to compensate him 
for his past trials and sufferings. 

Among others who were billetted in Flatbush, were the 
soldiers who had fought in Canada, in the French war. 
Of these nothing particular is told. For accommodating 


•these, as well as the regiment of the Waldeckers, no com- 
pensation was allowed to the inhabitants. Among the 
many troops belonging to the British, who from time to 
time were in Flatbush, many were desirous of going over 
to the American army, and several desertions took place. 
Among others, a Captain Lyman of Boston. He became 
involved in debt and sold his commission in the British 
service. He was soon greatly reduced in his circumstances, 
and had to sleep in the open air under the stacks. The 
American prisoners hearing of his situation, made a col- 
lection for him — had a suit of coating made for him at the 
house of Captain Cornelius Vanderveer, and furnished 
him with means to escape beyond the British lines. He 
travelled safely towards the east end of the island, passed 
over to Connecticut, and eventually joined the Americans. 
Near the close of the war, a Saxon regiment, who were 
dressed in French clothing, came to Flatbush, and were 
quartered upon the inhabitants. Many of these, and in 
fact the whole regiment, was desirous of going over to the 
American army. One of the soldiers who was billetted 
at Captain Vanderveer's, came to the present J. C. Van- 
derveer, Esq. one morning very early, before he had left 
his bed, and told him their wishes, and offered him money 
if he would pilot them. Mr. Vanderveer told him of the 
entire impracticability of the enterprize, on account of 
the distance of the American lines, and the waters which 
they would have to cross. He was induced in consequence 
of this, to leave him. But next morning he brought one 
of his officers to Mr. Vanderveer, who told the same story 
— that the whole regiment were ready to join the Ameri- 
cans, and pressed him to guide them. He told them again 
that the matter was utterly impossible; that if they at- 


tempted it, there was no escaping detection and death, 
and accordingly they desisted. But the soldier and some 
others did attempt to desert, and were taken and put on 
board a man-of-war. After a short time, the whole regi- 
ment was removed. The incident is interesting and im- 
portant, as showing how popular the cause of the Ameri- 
cans was, even with many who were brought here to fight 
against them. 




We now open an interesting chapter in the History of 
Flatbush. It relates to the pecuniary aid afforded by this, 
in common with some of the other towns in Kings County, 
to the advancement of the American cause, during the 
struggle which eventuated in our independence. While 
from the circumstances in which the inhabitants of this 
part of the country were placed, they could not personally 
enlist in the army without sacrificing their all; many of 
them furnished money, appropriately called the sinews of 
war, with which to carry on the contest. This, in view 
of the situation of the country at various times during the 
revolutionary conflict, was exceedingly important. The 
currency of the country consisted chiefly in continental 
paper. This had become so much depreciated, that it 
was of little value, and it was absolutely essential to the 
success of the American cause, that specie should be ob- 
tained. It was therefore contrived to borrow money for 
the use of the army, from the whigs, on the west end of 
Long-Island, who had in their possession large sums of 


gold and silver. The agent in effecting these loans, was 
Major Hendrick Wyckoff. He was the only son of Mr. Cor- 
nelius Wyckoff, of New-Lots, in this town. His father was 
a staunch whig, and his son the Major, early enlisted with 
all his heart, in the cause of his country. He left Long- 
Island with the American army, in September, 1776, and 
remained in the service, and virtually an exile from his 
home, till the British left the country, in 1783. He was a 
confidential friend of Governor George Clinton, and a 
brave, discreet and enterprising officer, a man of sterling 
integrity and honesty. His country's enemies were his ene- 
mies, and her friends his friends. Being well acquainted 
with the inhabitants of the west end of Long-Island, and 
who among them were true friends of American Independ- 
ence, after the plan of obtaining money from them was 
suggested, the execution of it was committed to him. 

The loaning of money appears to have originated with 
Lieutenant Samuel Dodge, who was taken prisoner at 
Fort Montgomery, in October, 1777. The officers who 
were captured in the Fort at that time, were brought to 
New- York, and distributed on parole in Kings County. 
Lieutenant Dodge and Captain Gilleland, were quartered 
at the house of Mr. Barent Johnson, the father of the 
present General Jeremiah Johnson, of Brooklyn. He was 
exchanged in the early part of the following November. 
On his return, Mr. Johnson, who was a firm and devoted 
whig, loaned him a small sum of money, and probably 
suggested the idea of obtaining specie in Kings County. 
Colonel Ellison, who was a prisoner in New-Utrecht, on 
parole, was advised on the subject, and when he was ex- 
changed in December, 1777, he obtained a loan of £700, 
to the State from Mr. Barent Johnson, which he carried 
with him. This was the first loan, for which a simple 


private receipt on account was given. Several receipts 
of the like import, amounting to $5000, were taken by- 
Mr. Johnson before his death in 1782, a noble testimony 
to his devotedness to the interests of his country. 

The practicability of obtaining money in Kings County 
being thus manifest, the whole conducting of the affair 
was intrusted to Major Wyckoff. It was an enterprize 
attended with imminent danger, and one which required 
great skill and secrecy in its execution. The plan usually 
pursued by the Major, was to cross the sound from Con- 
necticut, and conceal himself at Cow Neck. The house 
in which he was usually secreted, was that of Peter On- 
derdonk, a warm friend of the American cause. He was 
entrusted by Governor Clinton, with blank notes, signed 
by him, which the Major was to fill up to certain indi- 
viduals, for such sums as he received from them. He had 
his agents in this part of Kings County, who obtained 
money for him, and took it to him. Judge Cowenhoven of 
New-Utrecht, the father-in-law, of Mrs. Catin, was one of 
these. He carried to the Major, the chief part of the 
money raised for this object, in Flatbush. Major Wyckoff 
would occasionally venture himself within the British 
lines. He visited his father's house in New-Lots, and in 
the winter of the year 1780, he was several days at the 
house of Mr. Eemsen, at the Wallaboght, in sight of the 
prison ship, Jersey. In the evening they rode out, when 
Mr. Eemsen would borrow money, with which they would 
return at night. In the day they would count it on a 
blanket, and bag it. When the Major had as much as it 
was safe to take, Mr. Remsen took him and the cash to 
Mr. Onderdonk's, at Cow Neck. In effecting this service 
for his country. Major Wyckoff ran many risks of his life. 
On one occasion he was concealed for two or more days 


and nights in a thicket of briar bushes, from which he 
could see the men who were in pursuit of him. 

The amount of money loaned to the State by the whig 
inhabitants of Flatbush cannot be fully ascertained. We 
should be glad to name all who thus favored their coun- 
try's cause, but strange to say, no record of these transac- 
tions has been made or preserved. We can only mention 
such as have come to our knowledge, without design- 
ing to cast any reflection upon others. The mother of the 
present old Mrs. Lefferts advanced £500, equal to $1250. 
On one occasion, when counting out the money to the 
person who was about to take it to Major Wyckoff, a Brit- 
ish officer entered the house, and she came near being 
discovered and apprehended. Captain Cornelius Vander- 
veer and Judge Lott, united in advancing on a certain 
occasion, a sum of money. What the precise amount was 
we know not. But they received the simple note signed 
by Governor Clinton. To preserve this voucher, they en- 
closed it in a bottle. This being well corked, they buried 
it under one of the posts of Mr. Vanderveer's barn. At 
the close of the war, they dug up the bottle, but on open- 
ing it they found that all the writing on the note was 
obliterated, except the signature of George Clinton. 
When the State, repaid these loans, this note among oth- 
ers, was presented. The Governor inquired into the cause 
of its being so defaced, and at first hesitated to honor it. 
But on being told the circumstances connected with it, he 
honorably discharged it. 

Mr. George Martense, the father of Mrs. Catin, probably 
advanced the largest amount of money of any individual 
in the town. He loaned first and last, £2200, equal to 
$5500. This was the more commendable on his part, as 


he was regarded by the British as favorable to them. He 
had not fled when they entered the town, and they injured 
no part of his property. At his house too, the British offi- 
cers often visited, and Major Moncrief had his quarters. 
All these sums were given in specie, and when the loans, 
after the revolution were paid, it was in the same currency. 
When Mr. George Martense went for his money, he took 
a cart, it is said, and the silver completely filled it. 

The process of loaning money continued till the peace. 
Many timid whigs ventured as the prospects of the coun- 
try brightened, and loaned their money. They knew the 
purpose and the danger in aiding the American cause. 
To tell was death. A combination in what was esteemed 
treasonable acts, bound them strongly together. 

It is supposed that before the war terminated, not far 
from $200,000, in specie, had been loaned and carried out 
of the British lines, by this devoted band. And what is 
remarkable, not a single person who aided in this busi- 
ness was discovered. It is to be regretted, that a public 
record of these transactions, so honorable to the whigs of 
Kings County, is not in existence. " I have searched," 
says General Johnson, in a communication to the author, 
" the records and public papers, of the war, at Albany, 
but no entries of this matter can be found." 

Major Wyckoff after the peace engaged in mercantile 
business, with Judge Smith (also an exile) under the firm 
of Smith and Wyckoff, New- York. He died in the year 
1791, at his father's house in New-Lots, being about fifty 
years of age. His funeral was attended by a large con- 
course of people, desirous of paying their last respects to 
a man, who had braved danger and difficulty, in the 
service of his country. Among these, were the military 


officers of the city of New- York, and his personal friend, 
George Clinton, the Governor of the State. 

At the close of the war, a liberty pole was erected in 
Flatbush. It was near the spot where the present one 
stands. The occasion was one of great joy and hilarity. 
Materials for the flag having been procured, a party of 
ladies assembled at the house of Mr. John C. Vander- 
veer, for the purpose of making it. Several yoimg persons 
gathered together in the evening, and much dancing and 
merriment were indulged in. But it was interrupted by 
a sensation of an earthquake, which was then very strongly 
felt. The flag however, duly formed, with its stripes and 
stars was completed and a time was set for the putting up 
of the pole and displaying for the first time in Flatbush, 
the American signal. A large concourse assembled on the 
occasion. It was celebrated with the firing of cannon, 
and other demonstrations of joy. An unfortunate acci- 
dent occurred, however, which greatly marred the pleas- 
ure of the scene. Mr. Henry Van Beuren, the brother of 
Courtland Van Beuren, the father of the present Mrs. 
Hasbrook, was severely wounded. He was engaged in 
ramming down a charge in the cannon, when from some 
cause the piece discharged itself. The ramrod was driven 
with great violence from the cannon, and severely lacer- 
ated the hand and arm of poor Van Beuren, and also 
passed along his thigh and laid open the flesh almost 
through its whole extent. The wound was a very dan- 
gerous one, and it was feared at the time, that it would 
prove fatal. He however, after a very long confinement 
finally recovered. 

The evening of the day on which the liberty pole was 
erected, was spent in festivity. A large public ball was 


held, the company using for the occasion the court room, 
from which the British officers had previously removed 
the seats and benches, to render it suitable for similar 
amusements on their part; little dreaming that they 
whom they regarded as dastardly rebels, would use these 
accommodations to celebrate, in the same place the 
achievement of their independence from foreign oppres- 

. ..M ^r 



During the period immediately succeeding the termina- 
tion of the revolutionary war, no very material events 
took place in Flatbush, except the building of the Acad- 
emy, the Church and the Court House, all of which we 
have already noticed. But presently the attention of the 
inhabitants was directed to their side walks and front 
fences. The first fences in front of the farms, were formed 
of stone, surmounted with earth, on which were planted 
shoots of primrose. These were kept properly trimmed, 
and when in full growth were very handsome. Lining the 
village, almost entirely on both sides, they presented a very 
picturesque appearance. This was the case about seventy 
or eighty years ago, and had been so, for probably a cen- 
tury before. But from some cause, either the severity of the 
winter weather, or the ravages of an insect, these prims 
all died in one season. Some then took down the stone 
foot and substituted ordinary posts and rails. This how- 
ever, had but an unsightly aspect. Picket fences were 
then resorted to. In front of two farms these had been put 
up previously to the war, viz: by Colonel Axtell and Mr. 
David Clarkson. One after another of the inhabitants 
substituted these in the place of the old stone fence, or the 
posts and rails which had been used. And now there is 
one continued picket or panel fence on both sides of the 


village from one end to the other. The last link in this 
chain was completed some four or five years ago. 

Locust trees were formerly planted on the side walks 
of the village. Some of these, perhaps seventy-five or 
one hundred years of age, were standing not many years 
since. The last of them stood in front of the premises oc- 
cupied by Dr. Vanderveer, and Mr. John C. Bergen, and 
were removed when these gentlemen regulated and formed 
their side walks. Some few of the more modem of these 
locust trees are still standing before the property now in 
the possession of the widow Gertrude Stryker, on the walk 
of Matthew Clarkson, Esq. and in front of the house be- 
longing to the heirs of Cornelius Antonides. As these trees 
decayed, which occurred between thirty and forty years 
ago, they were succeeded by the Lombardy poplar. Quite 
a spirit existed in the place in favor of this tree. They 
were planted in great numbers, on either side of the road, 
and when they had attained their full growth, they pre- 
sented certainly a very beautiful appearance. It was at 
this time, about the year 1815, that the author first knew 
the village. These trees, on either side, gave it the aspect 
of a spacious avenue, or a beautiful vista, indicative of 
the comfort, peace and prosperity which generally reigned 
within the village. It was soon found, however, that 
these trees were infested with a loathsome worm, that 
they gave but little shade, and were not durable. The 
proprietors generally, removed them, and none are now 
left standing, except in front of the dwelling of L. L. Van 
Kleeck, Esq. Some planted locust trees again in the place 
of these poplars. But these were found to be attacked 
with worms, and not to grow with rapidity, or beauty. 
Since this a great variety of ornamental forest trees have 
been set out, which we need not enumerate. In this con- 


nection, we must speak of four venerable trees, three of 
which are still in existence. These were English Lindens. 
One of them is now standing in front of Mrs. Catin's, 
another on the corner of Dr. Zabriskie's, and the third, on 
the opposite comer, in front of the house of Mr. Michael 
^N'eefus. These were planted very many years ago. The 
two last particularly, affording a fine shade, were often 
resorted to by the neighbors, in the summer season. Many 
a social pipe, and happy hour have been enjoyed under 
them. The fourth of these venerable trees, stood in front 
of the house which was taken down to make room for the 
present dwelling of Judge John A. Lott. This tree was 
very large, and very highly prized. About the period of 
the American Revolution, a limb of this tree, from some 
cause, became broken, and Colonel Matthews, the Mayor 
of the City of New- York, who then lived on the premises, 
had it leaded up, and it grew again. But after a while 
it was split again by the wind. And he actually sent to 
New-York for riggers, who bound it up with ropes, and 
so preserved it. On one occasion the court of the county 
sat under this tree. It was in consequence of the large 
number of persons attending, who could not be accommo- 
dated in the court house. 

The regTilating of the side walks in the village was 
commenced about fifteen years ago, by M. Clarkson, Esq. 
At a very considerable expense he levelled and gravelled 
his walk, and put up a railing in front. Small pieces of 
railing before a few doors had been made previously, but 
none extended in front of the whole premises. The bene- 
fit and the beauty of this improvement were soon seen, 
and several others followed the example, so that now we 
have a regulated walk through the greater part of the vil- 
lage, and a railing or chain in many cases in addition. 


Soon after the close of the war of the American Revo- 
lution several new houses were put up, some in the place 
of those that had been burnt, and some on the sites of 
other old dwellings, w^hich were pulled down. Within the 
last few years, several beautiful and spacious dwellings 
have been erected, and nearly all the houses which were 
standing during the Revolutionary war are removed. We 
have not space to specify all these buildings, which com- 
bine the elegance and conveniences of modern improve- 
ment. David Johnson, Esq. erected the first, about fif- 
teen years since, when he moved to the village, and put 
up the noble edifice in which he resides. Matthew Clark- 
son, Esq. a few years afterwards built the magnificent 
mansion which now adorns his property, and in which he 
lives. The old wretched building formerly owned by Mr. 
Van Courtlandt has been succeeded by the two beautiful 
houses now occupied by Mr. Prince and Mr. Crommelin. 
The very ancient house of Leffert Martense, has given 
place to the stately edifice of Judge G. L. Martense. In- 
stead of the small uncouth dwelling which formerly stood 
upon the very edge of the road, we have the spacious 
house now inhabited by Mr. SejTnour, with its Grecian 
front, and the comfortable dwelling in which Mr. St. John 
resides. The old brick structure belonging to the Stryker 
family, which but a few years ago, stood near the corner, 
venerable for its age, and bearing upon its front, the fig- 
ures 1696, has been removed, to make room for the modest, 
but neat cottage of Mrs. Gertrude Stryker. The long 
gloomy looking, but time honored house of Barent Van 
Deventer, has given place to the conmiodious edifice of 
Judge John A. Lott. In the room of the unsightly and 
dilapidated hovel of Mr. Jacobus Van Deventer, with its 
large duck pond, and falling fences, we have Vernon 


avenue, and the nice and tasty building in which Mr. 
Beekman resides. The old house of Hendrick Vanderveer, 
has been succeeded by the handsome, well finished and 
convenient dwelling' of Mr. Samuel G. Lott. And though 
the last, not the least, in the north of the village, Mr. 
Willink has erected the splendid mansion, into which he 
has recently removed, together with its beautiful bam and 
stables, surmounted with a cupola, all of which, he has en- 
closed with a costly panel fence. In addition to these, to 
some other houses Grecian fronts have been added, and 
various improvements made, which give to the whole vil- 
lage an air of beauty, pleasantness, richness and comfort, 
which are surpassed by but few others. A distinguished 
gentleman of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,* on his first visit 
to the place, called it a village of palaces. Besides these 
more conspicuous houses, many more have been put up in 
various parts of the village, some of which too, are beauti- 
ful and neat. Quite a considerable settlement has grown 
up, a little east of the Academy, and also one in the north 
of the village, on which spots a few years ago, not a house 
was to be seen. Indeed within the past twelve or fifteen 
years, more than sixty new buildings have been put up, 
besides those which have been erected in the place of old 
ones, which have been removed. 

It no doubt will appear strange to some, that a village 
so contiguous to the great emporium of our country, and 
combining the advantages of health and means of educa- 
tion, with the absence of many temptations to the young 
should not have grown with more rapidity. But the rea- 
son is to be found in the fact that until within a very few 
years, not a building lot could be purchased in the town. 

* Hon. Robert C. Grier. 


The owners of property, living in comfort, and gradually 
adding to their estates, felt no inducement to part with 
their lands. But of late, some few farms have been pur- 
chased, and Flatbush property is now in the market. Had 
the village been laid out regularly in streets and building 
lots, some thirty or forty years ago, it would we have no 
doubt by this time have rivalled some of our largest inland 
towns. But notwithstanding the present aspect of neat- 
ness and comfort, which it presents, it is susceptible of 
still greater improvements. These we trust, will in due 
time, be made, and the village become, what it is capable 
of being made, the pride and beauty of Long-Island. 

We had intended to give some account of the genealogy 
of most of the older families of Flatbush. Materials to 
a very considerable extent have been collected with this 
view, but as they are not sufficiently full, especially in 
regard to some families, we deem it proper to waive this 
part of our subject. 

From a review of the history of their little home which 
we have taken, truly the inhabitants of Flatbush have 
abundant cause to admire the goodness of that God who 
in his benign providence has smiled so graciously and so 
constantly upon them. Their cup has overflowed with 
blessings, and still the same mercy of the Lord is crown- 
ing their families with peace. With adoring gratitude let 
us lift up our hearts to his throne and with fulness of love 
to him let us show the fervor of our thankfulness by lives 
devoted to his glory. Committing to his guardian care, 
the interests of our village, and praying his blessings to 
rest upon it, let us aim to make it as eminent for moral- 
ity, for intelligence, for pure religion, as it is now for 
health, beauty and temporal prosperity. 


Since the foregoing was in type, we have met with the 
following obituary notice of the Eev. Johannes Theo- 
dorus Polhemus, the first pastor of the Keformed Dutch 
Churches of Flatbush, Brooklyn and Flatlands. It is ex- 
tracted from the records of the Church of Brooklyn. 

" It has pleased the Almighty God, to remove from this 
world of care and trouble, our worthy and beloved pastor, 
Johannes Polhemus, to the abode of peace and happiness 
in his heavenly kingdom: by which, our Church is de- 
prived of his pious instructions, godly example and evan- 
gelical ministrations, particularly in the administration 
of the holy sacrament of the Lord's Supper." 


Aeartsen, Jan, 60. 
Aeartsen, Rien, 64. 
Aeartsen, Rinier, 60. 
Aeartsen, Rynier, 60, 114. 
Aertson, Rem, 81. 
Ahawaham, 30, 31. 
Alburtis, Rev. John, 104. 
Allgeo, William, 65, 66, 133. 
Alsop, Richard, 137. 
.Andriesen, Nicholas, 65. 
Andres, Sir Edmond, 27, 34. 
Antonides, Cornelius, 52, 120, 

155, 174. 
Antonides, Vicentius, 65, 85, 86, 

87, 89. 
Antonides, Vincent, 92. 
Arondeus, Johannes, 88, 89, 90. 
Atlee, Colonel, 156. 
Aviky, John, 60. 
Axtell, Colonel William, 120, 156, 

159, 160, 173. 

Back, Simeon, 99. 
Bailey, Captain, 157. 
Baldwin, Abijah, 99. 
Baldwin, Rev. J. Abeel, 104. 
Bancker, Gerard, 47, 48. 
Barby, Colonel, 157. 
Bardulph, Cornelius, 60. 
Barentse, Cornelius, 64. 
Barlow, Rev. William, 106. 
Baronson, Cornelius, 60. 
Beach, 159, 160. 

Beecher, Mark Hopkins, 134, 135. 
Beekman, Gerardus, 68. 
Benham, Joseph, 65. 

Bennan, John, 92. 

Bennem, Jan, 64. 

Bennem, John, 99. 

Bennet, Jan, 65. 

Bennet, John, 64. 

Bergen, Cornelius, 126. 

Bergen, J. C, 143, 144, 155, 174. 

Berrian, Cornelius, 37, 60, 114. 

Berrian, Cornelius Jansen, 42, 64. 

Berrian, John, 128. 

Besker, Thomas, 9. 

Betts, Captain Richard, 33. 

Betts, Robert, 65. 

Biles, Captain, 157. 

Birdsall & Aldworth, 51. 

Bloch, Adrian, 8. 

Bloom, Joris, 65. 

Boerum, Jacob, 65. 

Boerum, Simon, 67. 

Bogart, Rev. David S., 104. 

Bougaert, Cornelius Janse, 24. 

Brannon, John, 131. 

Brinkerhoff, Dirk, 88. 

Brittain, Rev. Thomas S., 105, 

Brodhead, Romeyn, 4. 
Brower, Auris Williamse, 79. 
Burr, Aaron, 124. 

Campbell, James, 134. 
Campbell, Rev. William H., 106, 

133, 134, 135. 
Carlisle, Edward, 32. 
Carr, Robert, 21. 
Carteret, George, 21. 
Cartwright, George, 20. 


Cassidy, Edward, 131. 
Catin, Mrs., 54, 55, 160, 168, 175. 
Charles II., 18, 19, 45. 
Childs, Francis, 124. 
Claas, Barent, 60. 
Claases, Barthold, 60. 
Clairesen, Bartholf, 64. 
Clarke, Thomas, 21. 
Clarkson, Charles, 101. 
Clarkson, David, 144. 
Clarkson, Matthew, 51, 105, 123, 

124, 137, 175, 176. 
Cleaveland, Frederic, 99. 
Clinton, General, 145, 146, 147, 

148, 159. 
Clinton, George, 124. 
Clinton, Governor, 167, 168, 169, 

Clowes, Rev. Timothy, D.D., 132. 
Coghlan, Rev. James, 106. 
Colman, 7, 8. 
Cooper, Joab, 131, 132. 
Cooper, Rev. Dr., 120, 121. 
Copp, John, 120, 121. 
Cornbury, Lord, 84, 86. 
Cornelise, Jan, 62. 
Cornell, Cornelius, 62, 64. 
Cornell, George, 105. 
Cornell, Gilliam, 65. 
Cornell, Peter, 123, 124, 126. 
Comwallis, Lord, 141, 143, 145, 

152, 153. 
Cortelyou, Isaac, 63, 108, 141. 
Cortelyou, Jacques, 38, 39, 40. 
Cortland, Jacobus, 39. 
Courtes, Mainderd, 79. 
Cousseau, James, 21. 
Couwenhoven, Nicholas, 67. 
Cowenhoven, Judge, 168. 
Craig, Andrew, 132. 
Crawford, Hon. Mr., 128. 
Crommelin, Mr., 176. 

Crommelin, Robert J., 105 
Crookshank, Rev. William, 104. 
Cunningham, 158. 
Curtenius, Rev. Anthony, 90. 
Cutler, Rev. Benjamin C, D.D., 

104, 105. 
Cuyler, 153. 

Dalrymple, Captain, 162. 

Dalrymple, Lieutenant, 156. 

Davenport, Jerome Alstyne, 135. 

De Boer, Martin, 55. 

De Brugh, Sir Francis, 26. 

De Bruynne, Francays, 63, 109. 

Deckar, John D., 21. 

Declyer, John, 19. 

De Estaing, Count, 158. 

De Forest, Miss Julia, 133. 

De Horn, Colonel, 162. 

De Laet, 8. 

Delavall, Thomas, 20. 

Depeyster, Captain, 156. 

Derry, Valentine, 131. 

De Sille, Nicasius, 26. 

Dillon, Patrick, 110. 

Ditmarse, Johannes, 62, 65, 115, 

Ditmarse, Lawrence, 65. 
Ditmarsen, Jan, 64. 
Dodge, Lieutenant Samuel, 167. 
Dongan, Governor Thomas, 33, 

37, 39, 41, 44, 45, 48, 49, 141. 
Doughty, Charles, 57. 
Doxse, Thomas, 65. 
Duane, James, 124, 
Dubois, Rev., 85. 
Duer, John, 128. 
Duer, William, 124. 
Duer, William A., 128. 
Durand, C, 105. 
Duryee, Jacob, 51. 
Duryee, Rev. PhiUp, D.D., 129. 


Edgar, W., 124. 

Elbertson, Elbert, 15. 

EUiott, Andrew, 120. 

Ellison, Colonel, 167. 

Ellison, Gabriel, 109, 110, 121, 

Ellsworth, William, 64. 
Ely, Miss, 133. 
Erasmus, Desideremus, 126. 
Erasmus Hall, 50. 
Eskemoppas, 30, 31. 

Fardon, Thomas, 99. 
Ferguson, James, 135. 
Filkin, Henry, 68. 
Fish, Richard, 70, 131. 
Fleming, Sampson, 124. 
Fort Orange, 9. 
Franklin, Samuel, 124. 
Freeman, Bernardus, 84, 85, 86, 

87, 88. 
Frey, John, 133. 
Furman, Judge, 59. 

Gancell, Jan, 63, 109. 

Garretson, Samuel, 61, 67. 

Ganitsen, Wolphert, 10. 

Geib, Miss, 133. 

Gibson, John, 128. 

Gifford, William B., 123, 124, 

Giles, Aquilla, 69, 123, 124, 125. 
Giles, James, 124. 
Gilleland, Captain, 167. 
Gillet, Jacob, 134. 
Gillingham, Miss Emma, 133. 
Gordon, Dr., 149. 
Grant, Major General, 144, 145, 

147, 148. 
Greene, General, 140, 149. 
Grier, Isaac, 133. 
Grier, Robert C. (Hon.), 177. 

Groves, Captain Edward, 20. 
Gucksen, Hendrick, 28. 
Guilliamsen, Peter, 43. 
Guilliamsen, William, 37, 43. 
Gysbertse, Jan, 79. 

Hainelle, Michael, 26, 63, 109. 
Hall, George, 100. 
Hall, Matthew, 100. 
Hamilton, Alexander, 124. 
Hamilton, Major James, 157, 158. 
Hand, Colonel, 141. 
Hansen, Jan, 30, 31, 79. 
Hansen, Simon, 60, 64. 
Hash rook, Mrs., 171. 
Hay, Teunis Jacob, 32. 
Hedden, Andries, 10. 
Hegeman, Adriaen, 65. 
Hegeman, Adrian, 23, 30, 31, 54, 

63, 67, 108, 109, 110, 131, 143. 
Hegeman, Benjamin, 62. 
Hegeman, Evert, 143. 
Hegeman, Hendrick, 43, 44. 
Hegeman, John, 98. 
Hegeman, Joseph, 37, 43, 60, 64, 

Hegeman, Rem, 66. 
Hegeman, William, 64. 
Hegemans, 109. 

Heister, General de, 144, 145, 147. 
Hendricks, Jacob, 43. 
Hendrickson, Jacob, 62. 
Hendrickson, Ryck, 61, 62. 
Hess, John H., 87. 
Hewlett, Colonel, 162. 
Hobart, John Sloss, 124. 
Holt, John, 120. 
Hooglandt, Derik Johnson, 43, 

Hough, John, 32. 
Howe, General, 141, 143, 153. 
Howe, Lord, 138, 139. 


Hudson, Henry, Jr., 7. 
Hunter, John, 129. 

Ironside, William, 132. 

Jackson, Henry, 128. 
Jacobs, William, 43, 44. 
James II., 18, 22, 28, 41. 
Janse, Aris, 60. 
Jansen, Cornelius, 64. 
Jansen, Ditimus Lewis, 43, 44. 
Jansen, Jan, 60. 
Jansen, Symon, 37. 
Jay, John, 124. 
Johannes, Minne, 64. 
Johnson, Barent, 167. 
Johnson, David, 105, 176. 
Johnson, General, 167, 170. 
Johnson, General Jeremiah, 4, 9, 

39, 88, 167. 
Johnson, Johannes, 87. 
Johnson, John, 43, 44. 
Johnson, Mr., 168. 
Johnson, Okie, 43. 
Jones, Miss Maria, 133. 
Joosten, Jacop, 63, 109. 
Jorise, Hendrick, 30, 31. 

Kellogg, Jonathan W., 132, 133. 

Kent, Chancellor, 46. 

Kent & Radcliff, 99. 

Kidder, Jonathan B., 133. 

King, George, 139. 

Kinnarimas, 30, 31. 

Kip, Hardercus, 64. 

Krigier, Burgomaster, 77, 78. 

Labagh, Rev. Peter, 129. 
Laen, Jan, 65. 
Lamberse, Adrian, 34. 
Lane, Thomas, 92. 

Leet, Ambrose, 134. 
Lefferts, Isaac, 65. 
Lefferts, Jacob, 123, 124, 125. 
Lefferts, John, 56, 63, 66, 68, 69. 
Lefferts, Leffert, 65, 143. 
Lefferts, Mrs., 169. 
Lefferts, Mrs. Cynthia, 143. 
Lefferts, Peter, 62, 66, 69, 96, 

108, 123, 124, 125, 142. 
Lefferts, Widow, 40. 
Lenox, Major David, 157, 158. 
Linn, Rev. John Blair, 129. 
Livingston, Buckholst, 124. 
Livingston, Edward, 124. 
Livingston, John H., 124, 126, 

127, 128. 
Livingston, Rev. Dr., 94, 127, 

Livingston, Rev. J. H., D.D., 

123, 126, 128. 
Livingston, Robert R., 124. 
Lloyd, Bateman, 119, 157. 
Lloyd, Mrs., 157. 
Lloyd, Robert, 157. 
Lloyd, William, 157. 
Lott, Abraham, 62, 63, 65, 68. 
Lott, Englebert, 68. 
Lott, Henrick J., 66. 
Lott, Jeremiah, 3, 67, 69, 70. 
Lott, Johannes, 65, 67, 68, 69. 
Lott, Johannes E., 57, 68, 69, 95, 

98, 99, 123, 124, 125. 
Lott, Johannes J., 63, 66, 67, 99. 
Lott, Johannes, Jr., 62. 
Lott, Johannes W., 62. 
Lott, John A., 64, 67, 70. 
Lott, Judge, 56, 160, 162, 169, 

175, 176. 
Lott, Peter, 43. 
Lott, Samuel G., 177. 
Lovelace, Francis, 32, 33. 
Lovelace, Thomas, 31. 


Lowe, Rev. Peter, 94, 98, 102, 

126, 130. 
Lubbertse, Garrit, 43, 44. 
Ludlow, Carey, 124. 
Lupardus, Wilhemus, 80, 84. 
Luyster, Peter, 65. 
Lyman, Captain, 164. 

Magaw, Colonel, 156. 

Maltby, Mrs. W. W., 133. 

Manning, John, 32. 

Marriner, Captain, 159, 160, 161. 

Martense, 161. 

Martense, Adrian, 92, 99. 

Martense, Garrit, 53, 120, 123, 

124, 126, 160. 
Martense, George, 54, 125, ICO, 

169, 170. 
Martense, Isaac, 92. 
Martense, Joris, 96, 97, 123, 124. 
Martense, Judge, 141, 176. 
Martense, Lefferts, 53, 141, 143, 

Mason, John, 126. 
Mather, Cotton, 78. 
Matthews, Colonel, 159, 160, 175. 
McAlpin, John, 134. 
McCoombe, 124. 
McDougal, General, 151. 
McElwaine, Laura, 134, 135. 
Meach, Miss Almira, 133. 
Megapolensis, Johannes, 13, 19, 

23, 74, 78. 
Megapolensis, Samuel, 19, 21. 
Mercein, Thomas A. W., title 

Merrill, William, 65, 66. 
Messenger, Rev. John F., 106. 
Meyers, Rev. John H., 129. 
Mifflin, General, 150, 151. 
Miles, Colonel, 145, 146, 156. 
Miller, Captain, 153. 

Miller, Morris, 129. 
Minto, Walter, 125. 
Moncrief, Major, 159, 160, 161, 

Montieth, Rev. Walter, 102. 
Morffee, Aris, 65. 
Morrell, Theodore, 133. 
Morris, Nicholas, 131. 
Mowatt, 156. 
Mowatt, James, 105. 
Mulligan, Rev. John, 132. 
Murphy, H. C, 13. 

Nagle, Lieutenant Philip, 62. 
Nagle, Philip, 48, 62, 63, 66, 68, 

90, 96, 97, 98, 124, 126. 
Nagle, Philippus, 65, 115, 117. 
Neal, Ava, 131. 
Needham, Captain Robert, 20. 
Neefus, Michael, 175. 
Nevius, Peter, 88. 
Nicolls, Colonel Richard, 19, 22, 

23, 27, 34, 42. 
Nicolls, Mathias, 31. 
Noon, Patrick, 110, 131. 
Norrie, A., 105. 

Oakies, John, 41. 

Oblenais, Albert, 128, 130, 131. 

Okie, John, 43. 

Olmstead, James, 137. 

Onderdonk, Rev. B. F., 105. 

Onderdonk, Peter, 168. 

Palmer, Miss, 135. 
Parsons, General, 147. 
Pastor, Francis Barents, 23. 
Patterson, Adjutant-General, 

Patton, Captain, 157. 
Penney, Rev. Joseph, 132, 135. 
Percy, Lord, 145, 147. 


Pieterson, Lafford, 43. 

Pigot, General, 158. 

Pinchen, John, 21. 

Piatt, Richard, 124. 

Polhemus, Daniel, 43, 62, 64, 68, 

Polhemus, Johannes Theodorus, 

74, 76, 77, 78. 
Polhemus, Theodorus, 37, 171. 
Pope, 137. 
Post, William, 92. 
Prentice, J. J., 133. 
Prince, Mr., 176. 
Probasco, Stoffle, 60. 
Provost, Samuel, 126. 
:^utnam, General, 140, 148, 149. 

Randolph, Captain Fitzhugh,157. 
Rapalje, George Jansen De, 9. 
Rapelje, Jacob, 63. 
Rawlings, Colonel, 156. 
Raymond, 162, 163. 
Raymond, C. B., 134. 
Remsen, 168. 
Remsen, Daniel, 62. 
Remsen, Henry, 121. 
Remsen, Jacob, 65. 
Remsen, Jan, 60, 114. 
Remsen, John, 43. 
Remsen, Jores, 63, 110, 114. 
Remsen, Rem, 80, 81. 
Reyerse, Adriaen, 114. 
Richard, Samuel, Jr., 105. 
Riley, Isaac, 137. 
Robinson, James, 57. 
Rolla, Miss Philomela, 133. 
Roloffson, John, 60. 
Rowle, 135. 
Rubel, Johannes Casparus, 91, 

93, 94. 
Rubel, John, 144. 
Rubell, Dom, 161- 

Rubell, John, 110. 
Rudd, Miss, 133. 
Rutherford, Walter, 124. 
Ryck, Hendrick, 43. 
Ryck, Jacob Hendrick, 62. 
Rycken, Abraham, 9. 
Ryers, Adrian, 81. 
Ryers, Arian, 43, 60. 
Ryerson, Adrian, 60. 

St. John, Mr., 176. 
Salisbury, Sylvester, 32. 
Sands, Comfort, 124, 126. 
Sanford, John, 99. 
Schenck, Johannes, 63, 109. 
Schenck, Teunis, 70. 
Schoonmaker, Rev. Jacob, D.D., 

129, 131. 
Schoonmaker, Martinus, 57, 94, 

96, 98, 101, 102, 126. 
Schoonmaker, Michael, 87, 110, 

118, 119, 128, 131, 160. 
Schoonmaker, Mrs., 137. 
Schoonmaker, Stephen, 57. 
Seaman, Gideon, 99. 
Sebring, Cornelius, 67, 68. 
Selwyn, Henricus, 77. 
Shepherd, Edward, 12S. 
Sherbrook, Colonel, 160, 161. 
Sherbrook, Major, 159, 160, 
Seymour, 155, 160. 
Seymour, Mr., 120, 176. 
Sharpe, Jacob, Jr., 67. 
Silliman, General, 156. 
Skellie, John, 134. 
Skillman, John, 67. 
Smallwood, Colonel, 149. 
Smith, Judge, 170. 
Snedecker, Isaac, 65, 95. 
Snedicor, John, 74. 
Snediger, Jan, 23. 
Sneger, Garrit, 60. 


Solyns, Henry, 77. 
Sperling, J. M., 67, 117. 
Spicer, Thomas, 115. 
Steenwick, Cornelius, 21. 
Steephens, Court, 37. 
Sterling, Lord, 144, 146, 147, 

Stewart, Dr., 157, 158. 
Stillwell, Nicholas, 65. 
Stillwell, Richard, 38, 39, 40. 
StirHng, General Lord, 140, 147. 
Stoothoff, 135. 
Storm, Derick, 37, 63, 109. 
Story, William H., 105. 
Strong, Thomas M., title page. 
Stryker, Cornelius, 98. 
Stryker, Garret, 63. 
Strj^ker, Jacob, 23, 30, 31, 64. 
Stryker, Jan, 23. 
Stryker, John, 28, 37, 41, 43, 

Stryker, Mrs. Gertrude, 176. 
Stryker, Peter, 43, 51, 62, 65, 68, 

98, 99, 126. 
Stryker, Pieter, 60, 64. 
Stuyvesant, Peter, 13, 14, 15, 16, 

17, 19, 20, 22, 23, 74, 77, 78. 
Sullivan, General, 140, 144, 145, 

146, 148, 150. 
Suydam, Andrew, 98. 
Suydam, Cornelius, 65. 
Suydam, Hendrick, 96, 124, 125. 
Suydam, Hendrick H., 96, 98, 

Suydam, Jacob, 62. 
Suydam, Ryck, 62, 68. 
Symonsen, Johannes, 65. 

Terhune, John, 128. 
Teunis, Denise, 43, 44. 
Thayre, WilUam, 132. 
Thibaud, Jan, 110, 112. 

Thompson, John W., 133, 134. 

Thompson, Richard Whyte, 131. 
Tiebout, Jan, 109. 
Todd, James, 128. 
Troup, George M., 129. 
Turner, Joseph, 128. 

Van Beuren, Courtland, 171. 

Van Beuren, Henry, 171. 

Van Boerum, William Jacobse, 

Van Brunt, Court, 98. 
Van Brunt, Rutgert, 57. 
Van Buren, Dr., 159. 
Van Cleef, Cornehus, 65, 131. 
Van Cleef, Michael, 57, 66. 
Van Corlear, Anthony, 49. 
Van Corlear, Jacobus, 9. 
Van Cortlandt, Jacob, 32. 
Van Cortlandt, Mr., 176. 
Vanderbilt, Aries Jansen, 43, 62, 

Vanderbilt, Aris, 62. 
Vanderbilt, Jeremiah, 68, 143. 
Vanderbilt, Jeremias, 62, 66, 96, 

Vanderbilt, John, 57, 61, 63, 65, 

66, 67, 68, 69, 95, 99, 100, 

101, 123, 124, 125. 
Vanderbilt, John J., 123, 125. 
Vanderbilt, John R., 96. 
Vanderbilt, Judge, 162. 
Vanderbilt, Rem, 51, 155. 
Van Der Boergh, Jacob, 64. 
Van der Donk, 18. 
Van der Grilft, Paul Lunden, 19. 
Vanderveer, Abraham, 63. 
Vanderveer, Captain, 153, 161. 
Vanderveer, Captain Cornelius, 

145, 164, 169. 
Vanderveer, Cornelius, 43, 44, 56, 

99, 123, 124, 125, 152. 


Vanderveer, Cornelius, Jr., 115, 

Vanderveer, Dominicus, 62, 68. 
Vanderveer, Dr., 128. 
Vanderveer, Hendrick, 143. 
Vanderveer, Jan, 62. 
Vanderveer, J. C, 164. 
Vanderveer, John, 62, 64, 99. 
Vanderveer, John C, 3, 39, 62, 

63, 66, 69, 152, 171. 
Vanderventer, Jacobus, 143, 160, 

Vandervleet, Derick, 43, 
Vanderwyck, Cornelius, 43. 
Vander Wyck, Cornelius Berant, 

Vandeventer, Barent, 176. 
Van De venter, Jacobus, 56. 
Van Duyn, Garret, 65. 
Van Dyke, Jeremiah, 100. 
Van Eckkelen, Johannes, 63, 68, 

109, 110, 111, 114. 
Van Hatten, Jan Snedecor Arent, 

Van Kerk, John, 62. 
Van Kleeck, L. L., 82, 174. 
Van Kortlandt, Oleffe Stevens, 

Van Marckje, Jan Gerrit, 63, 109. 
Van Marken, John Gerritson, 

Van Pelt, Rem, 159. 
Van Pelt, Rev. Peter, D.D., 129. 
Van Ruyven, Cornelius, 23, 31. 
Van Samper, Dr., 161. 
Van Sinderen, Rev. Mr., 88, 122. 
Van Sinderen, Rev. Ulpianus, 89, 

90, 91, 93. 
Van Steenburgh, Petrus, 63, 110, 

116, 119, 120. 

Van Twiller, Wouter, 10, 49. 
Van Vleet, Derick Jansen, 60. 
Van Zuren, Casparus, 79, 80, 114. 
Varick, Richard, 124. 
Varick, Rudolphus, 80. 
Verleet, Nicholas, 21. 
Verplanck, D. C, 124. 
Voorhees, Adriantee, 124. 
Voorhees, Lawrence, 98. 
Voris, Simon, 141. 
Vose, Anna F., 134. 

Walderom, Jan, 65. 
Waldron, Charles, 105. 
Waldron, Johannes, 124. 
Washington, General Geo., 138, 

139, 149, 150, 151. 
Wells, Philip, 39, 40. 
Welp, Anthony, 110, 115, 117. 
Wiggins, Duryee, 159. 
Wilcocks, Wm., 124. 
Wiley, Chas., 137. 
William the Conqueror, 44. 
Williams, General, 157. 
Williamse, Hendrick, 42, 43. 
Williamse, Pieter, 43. 
Williamson, John, 98, 99. 
Willis, 135. 
Willys, Samuel, 21. 
Wilson, 126. 

Wilson, Dr., 128, 129, 130, 131. 
Winthrop, Governor, 21. 
Woodhull, Rev. Selah S., 102. 
Wyckoff, Cornelius, 69, 167. 
Wyckoff, John, 63, 70, 131. 
WyckoiT, Major, 168, 170. 
Wyckoff, Major Hendrick, 167. 
Wyckoff, Nicholas, 65. 

Zabriskie, Dr., 119, 175. 



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